Ahold Delhaize Tests New Digital Format
NETHERLANDS - Grocery shopping can either feel like an empowering self-love moment or a colossal disruption of free time. Some days I boycott the grocery store for no reason other than to avoid interacting with employees at checkout. Ahold Delhaize, along with big names like Amazon, have taken steps to make shopping experiences as painless as possible by piloting a fully digital grocery store. The project is spearheaded by Ahold’s banner, Albert Heijn (AH), and planned to operate within a small 150-square-foot structure.
“This latest concept not only makes shopping very easy, but due to its autonomous nature, this ‘plug and play’ store can be placed at locations where there is a temporary need for a small store, from offices or university campuses to residential areas under construction that do not yet have shopping facilities. A second advantage is that the store can always be open, which is useful for people who are on the road very early or very late,” said Marit van Egmond, Brand President of AH.
This new technology makes it possible to buy groceries without checkout or self-scan. Customers will be able to enter the doors with nothing more than their payment cards, which the system electronically scans. Cameras can determine the products customers choose to purchase and will charge them automatically when they exit the doors. The store was developed together with AiFi, a U.S.-based start-up, and Dutch Bank ING, which developed the payment solution and will process payments. Located in front of the AH support office in Zaandam, the system will be tested by associates in the coming two months.
Ahold’s innovative approach to grocery shopping has been developed through many veins of the company. Last year AH opened its first checkout-free stores, where customers can pay right at the shelf with a “tap to go” card or using a mobile app. Delhaize Belgium earlier this year launched a mobile payment application, called YesWeScan, which allows customers to scan product barcodes with their smartphone, add the items to an electronic shopping basket, and then pay. And in the U.S., Stop & Shop is offering frictionless checkout using the SCAN IT! mobile app.
Ahold is throwing its hat in the ring of the industry’s digital age. Stay with us at ANUK to hear about the latest technological advances in produce.