Ahold USA announces cashierless stores
Ahold Delhaize USA announced its version of cashier-less stores, a tech-savvy shopping experience that takes inspiration from Amazon Go. It calls it "the future of frictionless shopping".
The supermarket company who runs Food Lion, Giant and Stop & Shop said the small-format is piloting stores it calls "Lunchbox". The new stores are more efficient than other frictionless checkout stores because Ahold can set them up within six weeks, it said.
Ahold's Retail Business Services (RBS) is currently testing the technology in Quincy, Massachusetts.
Pilots are set to be run although a specific timeline is not set. Discussions for the rollout are ongoing and it will test another store in a RBS office in 2020.
The services company of Ahold explained: "You simply scan your way to enter the store, grab your items, and walk out".
It works through a series of technological steps. In particular, it incorporates payment from a phone app into a system in the store. From there, it can track customers' purchases. That way, customers electronically pay as they walk out the door.
This cashier-less system looks like it's becoming trendy. For instance, Amazon Go, the first to roll out cashier-less markets, recently announced plans to expand.
What Ahold says about its cashierless "Lunchbox"
In a promotional video, the store's shiny automatic doors open when customers scan their phones and enter the small space. The camera then turns and zooms in on a camera above the store's exit. These cameras use computer vision to collect information from customers to track purchases.
An RBS representative said that Lunchbox "can have numerous shoppers within a small area, shopping in the store, and walking out, still expecting to be charged accurately".
Its development was the combined work of IT teams internally, innovation labs and partners like UTS Global.
Regarding the RBS team's philosophy on innovation, Paul Scorza in IT said that Ahold is a "fast follower". This means that it looks out for cutting edge innovation from other companies and then adapts it to make it at a lower cost.
By "targeting convenience", Ahold claims to make markets which are cheaper and faster than its competitors like Amazon Go.
Amazon currently operates 21 Amazon Go stores in big cities across the U.S.