Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn is experimenting with a new form of shopping in which ‘buying groceries is just like taking something out of the fridge’.
The testing ground, a 14 square meter purpose-built store at the company’s Zaandam HQ, has no cash registers and shoppers do not have to scan the products they are buying either.
Instead, customers open the door to the shop by scanning their bank card. As they leave, the grocery bill will appear on a screen and the money they owe will automatically be deducted from their bank account.
The Dutch market leader says it is the first company in Europe to try out such a system, which is currently only being used by company staff. Later this year the company aims to place its laboratory supermarket at a different location where it can be used by anyone.
‘We have cameras in store which register where you walk and what you are standing in front of,’ spokesman Jasper Hoogers said. ‘And this is only a trial. We are testing out lots of different scenarios to see if works.’
The cameras do not use facial recognition and work together with special shelving which registers if a product is removed or put back, Hoogers said.
The company has not yet researched what customers think of the idea, but the underlying thought is to make things easier for clients, Hoogers said. ‘This would allow us to develop a store which can be located anywhere and is open 24 hours a day,’ he said.
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