Albert Heijn trials fully automatic store

Albert Heijn announced Thursday it will be testing a cash register and employee free store for the next two months. The fully automatic store is located in a converted 14 square meter freight container and uses computers, cameras, and sensors in lieu of employees and cash registers, much like the 15 cash-free branches of Amazon Go in the US.

According to a video published by AH, customers will be able to enter the store by scanning their bank card and then make product selections as they ordinarily would. Sensors and cameras automatically track purchases which the customer can then double-check before leaving the store; the card will be automatically charged as the customer exits.

Similarly, structured store models reportedly show a significant decrease in the average amount of time a customer spends in a store when they do not scan their items or interact with a cash register, “from an average of three minutes to 30 seconds.” According to the Volkskrant, another consumer benefit of automatic stores is that they can be open 24 hours a day.

AH benefits from automatic ‘nano stores’ because cameras and shelf sensors work to prevent theft. This nearly employee-free store model also helps reduce AH’s payroll budget which was reportedly 9 billion euros.

Ceo Marit van Egmond of Albert Heijn reportedly sees opportunities for this type of ‘container store’ in places where there is a temporary need for a small store such as offices, university grounds or upcoming residential areas under construction.

The small selection of food available in AH container stores will be targeted to customers looking for something quick to eat or drink, including snacks, soft drinks and ready-made meals. The new digital AH to go is located at the headquarters of the parent company, Ahold Delhaize, in Zaandam and is currently being tested by staff.

Featured Image: DennisM2 [Flickr]


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