Ahold Delhaize USA is piloting a checkout-free store concept with the trial of its “lunchbox” technology at its Retail Business Services (RBS) office in Quincy, Mass. The technology appears to function similarly to the “Just Walk Out” technology at Amazon Go, in that shoppers can grab fresh foods, snacks and beverages within the space.
Once registered within a mobile app, “shoppers simply scan in, shop and walk out,” according to Paul Scorza, EVP, IT and CIO for Retail Business Services.
“We believed in this concept so much we brought it to our own office,” Scorza said in a statement. “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 [transactions], with groups of up to 12 in the store at the same time, have been successfully completed.”
Within the store, AI running on Intel Core i5 and i7 processor-based systems can detect which products are being removed from shelves in the store. Additionally, the store includes anonymous body skeletal tracking designed to connect the right products to the right shopper.
The application technology for lunchbox, created in the RBS innovation lab and tech hub, is powered by a proprietary app that admits shoppers to the store and charges shoppers for purchases. The RBS team integrated payment services such as PayPal, Venmo, Apply Pay and Google Pay into the wallet.
RBS led the project’s app development and technology connectivity and provided food retail operations expertise, while UST Global, a digital technology solutions company, provided AI and developed the store’s physical infrastructure.
The lunchbox announcement follows Ahold Delhaize’s debut of a 150-square-foot checkout-free store located outside the Albert Heijn convenience store’s support office in the Netherlands. That location requires shoppers to scan their credit card before entering, select products and stand in front of a sensor to register their purchases before exiting.
And earlier this year, Ahold Delhaize launched nearly 500 “Marty” robots at its GIANT and Stop & Shop stores to patrol the aisles for spills and out-of-stock items.
No specific timetable has been set for the lunchbox pilot, but plans call for a lunchbox store to be tested at another RBS office in 2020, an RBS spokesperson told Supermarket News.