The CEO of Aldi Ireland has shared an update on the future of ‘payment-free’ stores as the supermarket giant embarks on a potentially game-changing experiment.
The retailer is currently experimenting with a UK supermarket with no checkout at all – allowing customers to simply select their purchases and be charged at checkout.
The way it works is for customers to install an app on their phone. When they go to the Aldi Store they sign up for the app.
Then they go shopping as usual and go out when they’re done. When they leave the store, they are automatically charged and you get a receipt emailed to them.
Aldi will not reveal where the demo shop is located, other than that it is in London. Currently the system is only used by supermarket employees and not customers.
But the store said that if the system is successful it will be rolled out to the public.
Giles Hurley, CEO of Aldi UK and Ireland, said: “We are always looking to redefine what it means to be a discount retailer, and the technology included in this experience will provide us with a wealth of learning.
“We are really excited to test this concept which will enable customers to choose from our range of quality products, all available at unbeatable prices, and then leave the store without having to pay for money.”
Aldi’s statement said the store would still employ the same number of employees as one of its similarly sized supermarkets.
Aldi isn’t the first retailer to experiment with “no-pay” payments.
In March, the online giant Amazon opened its first open store in the UK, selling items like groceries and technology, without any payments.
The multibillion-pound retail empire – owned by the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos – is piloting the Amazon Go concept on the streets of Britain.
It was Ealing’s first store in West London.
And, as with its US stores, there will be no physical registrations, as all shopping baskets are checked – and customers are charged – when they leave the store via the Amazon Go app.
The concept was first launched in the US in 2018 and it was first reported last year that the shopping giant was eyeing up to 30 locations in the UK for brick and mortar stores.
Stores use “Just Walk Out” technology which means customers can avoid standing in line.
Shoppers must scan their unique Amazon bar code on their phones to enter the store, which allows sensor technology and cameras to monitor the products they deal with.
The contactless service will work using the same type of technology found in self-driving cars that can detect when products are taken or returned to shelves, while keeping an eye on your virtual shopping cart.
Earlier this month, Aldi confirmed that more than 50 of its SpecialBuy products were delayed, including a number of homeware products slated to go on sale.
The retailer has been dealing with an ongoing issue with inventory but says arrival dates are “subject to change”.
The discount supermarket says about 78 of its products may arrive in its stores late this month.
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