Ahold Delhaize Debuts Frictionless Store Pilot Lunchbox
QUINCY, MA - Earlier this autumn, Ahold Delhaize USA teased the possibility of a fully digital store format that sent the industry atwitter over the similarities to models debuted by a few of grocery’s biggest competitors. But, as the saying goes, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, and Ahold Delhaize is joining the very best of ‘em with its latest innovative grocery pilot, Lunchbox.
Retail Business Services, the services company of Ahold Delhaize USA, is helping the retailer stay competitive in a fast-paced market with what it describes as frictionless store technology, which will be employed under the Lunchbox pilot.
“Lunchbox is an easy, fresh shopping alternative,” said Paul Scorza, EVP, IT, and CIO for Retail Business Services. “Once registered, shoppers simply scan in, shop, and walk out. It’s that easy. And it offers fresh, healthy options 24/7. You can grab a snack, a salad, fresh fruit, or even a carton of milk on your way home.”
The pilot is being tested in Retail Business Services’ Quincy, Massachusetts, office in partnership with UST Global, a digital transformation solutions company that is lending its articifical intelligence (AI) technology solution and physical infrastructure to the store.
“We believed in this concept so much we brought it to our own office,” added Scorza, noting its lean cost and quick application. “Our cafeteria that serves more than 1,000 associates was being remodeled, and we were looking for a quick, cost effective solution to give associates access to beverages, snacks, and fresh items at a variety of hours. We implemented this solution in just six weeks. Today, thousands of shops, with groups of up to 12 in the store at the same time, have been successfully completed.”
But how does the store work you ask? Like much of tech these days, an app admits shoppers into the store where AI running on Intel® Core i5 and i7 processors-based systems monitor which products are being removed from shelves while anonymous body skeletal tracking connects the right products to the right shopper. The app also serves as the check-out kiosk. All of this ground-breaking technology was developed in Retail Business Services’ innovation lab and tech hub.
“In the age of e-commerce, there are many opportunities for companies to evolve and better serve shoppers,” said Mahesh Athalye, Senior Director for UST Global. “Combined with AI/ML technology and purpose-built smartphone applications, solutions like Lunchbox, will help deliver frictionless experiences for shoppers seeking a quick, touchless experience.”
According to a press release, the technology will be demoed at the National Retail Federation (NRF) Big Show in January in collaboration with UST Global and Intel.
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