Mastercard launches touchless, frictionless retail solutions

Mastercard introduced a new suite of frictionless solutions, Shop Anywhere and AI Powered Drive Through, that are applicable and adaptable to any retail environment from restaurants to pharmacies. These solutions deliver low-touch, high-engagement experiences for both retailers and the end consumer

Mastercard is deploying these solutions by partnering with leading retailers, sport, entertainment and hospitality partners including Circle K, Delaware North, Dunkin’ and White Castle.

“As retailers and consumers navigate through one of the most disruptive periods in modern history, it’s clear that traditional business operations will need to evolve quickly,” said Stephane Wyper, senior vice president, retail innovation, Mastercard. “We’re committed to supporting our retail partners as they look to meet the unforeseen challenges posed by this new normal and provide their customers with a more digitally enabled, touchless, and secure retail experience.”

The Shop Anywhere platform, supported by AI and computer vision technology partner Accel Robotics, enables retailers to create simple, personalized shopping experiences in stores based on consumers’ needs but without compromising privacy.

The platform improves the speed of the shopper journey by eliminating existing points of friction through robust inventory and participating shopper analytics, and offering consumers secure payments, no waiting and no checkout lines. Shop Anywhere can also give shoppers access to stores outside of normal opening hours and if selected by the retailer, can offer unique and exclusive merchandise.

Shop Anywhere can be deployed across a range of physical spaces, such as shopping malls, airports, grocery stores and apparel outlets. Mastercard is facilitating live pilots of the platform with several retail partners beginning in October 2020. The pilots include:

  • Circle Kat-the-pump and in-store frictionless launch, enabling customers to efficiently grab-and-go snacks and drinks at select U.S. and Canadian locations.
  • Delaware North, a global hospitality company, will deploy standalone, frictionless food and drink stores at sports and entertainment venues, national parks, destinations restaurants and resorts, airports and regional casinos.
  • Dunkin’ restaurant where customers can approach the store environment, pick up their coffee and donuts and walk away without any face-to-face interaction.

The AI Powered Drive Through platform, provided in partnership with SoundHound Inc. and Rekor Systems, can help fast-food and quick-serve restaurant brands speed up a drive-thru or drive-in interaction through vehicle recognition, voice ordering, and artificial intelligence.

Consumers can receive personalized and dynamic menu offerings based on historical purchasing trends at the store or by the individual consumer. The solution also reduces friction within the ordering process by removing the need to wait for an employee to take an order, enabling staff to focus on getting the order out.

This technology builds upon Mastercard’s commitment to QSRs. Last year Sonic Drive-in partnered with Mastercard to prototype an AI-powered voice assistant and personalized dynamic menu.

“We are thrilled to partner with Mastercard to help retailers deliver a new world of convenience,” Brandon Maseda, Chief Executive Officer, Accel Robotics said in the release. “Through the Shop Anywhere platform, we are helping shorten the distance between shoppers and satisfaction.”

The AI Powered Drive Through technology will begin on-location pilots at White Castle locations in October 2020, and will also be rolling out with other quick service restaurants later in the year.

“At White Castle, as a nearly 100-year-old family business guided by having a heart for hospitality, bringing technological empowerment to the drive thru is the next chapter in innovation for our industry,” said Susan Carroll-Boser, Vice President, Technology at White Castle. “We’re honored to partner with Mastercard on this important initiative, and eager for our customers to enjoy the benefits it will provide.”