Frictionless C-stores Come to College Campuses

Students in Pennsylvania and San Diego can take advantage of a faster, simpler shopping experience.
Just Walk Out technology sign at Lafayette College

NATIONAL REPORT — College students in multiple states are getting a boost in convenience with the arrival of frictionless shopping courtesy of Amazon and AiFi.

Lafayette College, located in Easton, Pa., teamed up with its new dining provider Parkhurst Dining to roll out Amazon's Just Walk Out technology ahead of the 2023-2024 academic year. Lafayette President Nicole Hurd and Parkhurst representatives introduced the new technology and its benefits for students during an Aug. 22 ribbon-cutting ceremony held at Simon's Market in Lafayette's Kamine Hall.

Lafayette is the first Lehigh Valley college or university to offer this technology on-campus.

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"We're thrilled to be the first college in the Lehigh Valley to offer Amazon's Just Walk Out technology," said Hurd. "This service adds easy access to a variety of foods for our students, catering to the fast-paced and busy lives they lead, and their expectations for healthier and more accessible anytime food options around campus."

Transact Campus' Transact Mobile Ordering powers the enhanced shopping experience. Customers can use either the mobile app or a credit card to enter the store and pay for their items, ensuring a convenient and seamless purchase without having to wait in line.

"Transact Mobile Ordering, in tandem with Amazon, provides a smooth and flawless experience that unlocks several tools such as stored payment profiles, in-app receipts, and transaction recovery," said Laura Newell-McLaughlin, executive vice president and general manager of payments at Transact Campus. "Congratulations to Lafayette and Parkhurst on being at the forefront of dining innovation."

Simon's Market offers fresh food, prepackaged meals and other goods. As part of its partnership with Lafayette, Parkhurst designed and renovated the market space to accommodate the checkout-free technology.

"We are thrilled to bring our technology to Lafayette College," said Jon Jenkins, vice president of Just Walk Out technology. "Students will find an accurate, dynamic, and convenient shopping experience that meets them where they are — day or night — so they can maintain their primary focus: their education."

Moving to the West Coast, the University of San Diego also recently partnered with AiFi, a flexible AI platform that enables retailers to affordably deploy autonomous shopping solutions, to provide frictionless shopping options to students, staff members and guests on campus.

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AiFi retrofitted the university's existing Smart Market with its camera vision-based technology to allow students to select which food and drink items they'd like to purchase and walk out without waiting in line or scanning to pay. Customers can scan a dedicated store app for the mini convenience store located inside the Knauss Center for Business Education, and make selections such as hot and refrigerated prepared meals, coffee and kombucha on tap, and packaged snacks and beverages.

"As AiFi continues to expand into more unique spaces, we're excited to provide the University of San Diego community with more convenient shopping options and an enhanced experience," said Steve Carlin, CEO of AiFi. "Fast moving and low contact checkout are exactly what college students, professors and staff members need. As universities embrace more tech-forward solutions to drive their own digital transformation, we're pleased to partner with them in the direction of innovation."

AiFi previously deployed autonomous shopping at the University of Denver campus in 2022. The company plans to increase its presence in the university market to meet the needs of shoppers on the go.

"The University of San Diego is constantly looking for new innovative ways to improve efficiencies and provide more services to campus, and frictionless dining is perfect for our community," said Andre Mallie, assistant vice president, auxiliary services & resource management, at the University of San Diego. "We were impressed with the flexibility of AiFi's solution and the ability to seamlessly integrate with existing infrastructure in the store. Now, folks coming through the Knauss Center for Business Education won't be burdened by long lines or wait times, and we're excited for the future of this technology at our campus."