Mastercard has announced new technologies – the Shop Anywhere and the AI Powered Drive Through platforms – to help customers spend safely as economies around the world reopen in the wake of initial COVID-19 pandemic response measures. In line with hygienic best practices, the solutions are low-to-no contact, minimizing interactions with shared surfaces and encouraging the observation of social distancing measures by providing speedy customer experiences.
Shop Anywhere is a retail solution designed for the age of social distancing, leveraging AI and computer vision from Mastercard partner Accel Robotics. The platform enables fully automated customer experiences with zero human interaction. In a Dunkin’ Donuts pilot set to go live in October, for instance, customers will be able to enter a designated Shop Anywhere environment, grab their beverages and snacks, and simply walk out of the store – the platform will automatically process the payment.
AI Powered Drive Through, meanwhile, is a voice-based platform that can recognize customer vehicles and provides returning users with a dynamic menu of their favorite orders. The in-car dining solution helps automate the order-taking aspect of the service process, freeing up the staff to focus on fulfilling customer requests. A pilot with White Castle is also set to kick off in October.
Mastercard is billing the technologies as part of a frictionless retail solution suite that’s applicable to literally any physical sales environment.
“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,” said Stephane Wyper, SVP of Retail Innovation at Mastercard.
Beyond the timely arrival of these next generation retail technologies, they also mark significant progress in the realms of automation and naked payments innovation. Commenting on her company’s participation in the AI Powered Drive Through pilot, Susan Carroll-Boser, Vice President of Technology at White Castle, said: “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.”