Initially, only one test is planned in a shop in the Netherlands. But the discounter has significantly greater ambitions with the new technology.
The new store in Utrecht
Customers can check in at the new branch using their mobile phones. The purchases will be settled automatically later. More and more German supermarket chains and discounters are experimenting with supermarkets without cash registers, where customers check in via mobile phone and the purchases are automatically billed later.
Now Aldi Nord has also announced such a store. A new Aldi store in the city center of Utrecht in the Netherlands is expected to have no cash register at all from the beginning of 2022. Customers check in and out using a QR code using an app. The queue at the cash register is no longer necessary. Sensors on the shelves and special camera technology record which goods customers put in their shopping carts. In this way, all purchasing movements in the store should be reliably assigned to the correct customers. When they leave the store, all purchases are billed automatically and contactlessly.
The goods are paid for using the payment method that the customer has previously selected in the app. Aldi Nord is not the first retailer to test such concepts. For example, the discount sister company Aldi Süd is testing a similar technology in a shop in the Greenwich district of London. So far, however, only company employees have been allowed to shop there. When the test will also be opened for customers, Aldi Süd does not say when asked. Rewe, too, has now set up a store called “Pick and go” where customers can pay automatically via the app. The supermarket chain also first tested the concept with employees. In the Rewe store, however, it should be possible at the same time to shop both cashless and traditionally via the till.
Amazon is a pioneer in this area.
The online giant is already using its self-developed “Amazon Go” technology in numerous stationary stores in the USA. Amazon has recently opened its own cash register in London. However, the Amazon Go shops in London are not full-fledged supermarkets, but convenience shops that have a limited range in a small area. They mainly offer goods for direct consumption, such as drinks, sandwiches or pre-made salads. For its test in Utrecht, Aldi Nord does not use its own technology, but has entered into a partnership with the Israeli start-up Trigo. The company has developed an infrastructure for retail stores that uses artificial intelligence to ensure a high level of reliability when assigning purchases to customers.
Rewe also uses Trigo technology in its test shop in Cologne
In order to bind this coveted start-up even closer to itself, Rewe even took a minority stake in Trigo. However, there is no exclusive agreement so that Trigo can also work with competitors. “We are very proud to work with Aldi because the brand stands for innovation in food retailing. Thanks to the technology used in the store, customers can shop comfortably, while Aldi has a better overview of the availability of goods, ”explains Michael Gabay, co-founder and CEO of Trigo. Reordering of products In fact, the discounter is not only expecting better service for its customers from the new technology. The automatic recording of purchases in real time can also make processes in the store more efficient and help to better organize replenishment. For example, the reordering of goods for the shops could then be completely automated and accelerated. However, the app offers customers even more options than cash-free shopping: Customers can use the app to manage their purchase histories, request reimbursements or provide feedback on their purchases. In this way, they also receive an electronic receipt, which saves the otherwise legally required printout of a receipt.
Aldi expects a lot from the technology. The test in Utrecht, which is initially scheduled for twelve months, is intended to provide “important insights into future possible uses of the technology in discount stores”, as the company reports. The city center location is ideal to be able to test the system with high customer frequency during the day. In order to prevent possible worries for customers, the discounter emphasizes at the same time that all data protection standards are of course adhered to. "The intelligent technology ensures, for example, that facial data is filtered out directly and not processed," says the message.