Global food retailer Ahold Delhaize is pushing ahead with its testing of frictionless checkout.
With technology partner AiFi, Ahold Delhaize’s Albert Heijn grocery chain has deployed the AH To Go portable digital store at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. The 150-square-foot cashierless store brings a “grab and go” shopping experience based on AiFi’s NanoStore, an auto-checkout, micro convenience store.
The freestanding AH To Go store now sits on the Jan Dellaert Square in front of Schiphol Plaza after being transported on a tractor trailer truck from its initial test site at Albert Heijn’s headquarters in Zaandam, Netherlands, where it has been piloted since September.
“The airport is a perfect place for autonomous stores. Travelers are very aware of their time and need food and drinks at a variety of hours. We are very happy to collaborate with Albert Heijn to bring more convenience and delight to busy travelers,” Steve Gu, co-founder and CEO of Santa Clara, Calif.-based AiFi, said in a statement. “This speaks to the original design thinking behind NanoStore: to make a plug-and-play, modular store so it can be easily placed and moved where people need it the most.”
AiFi’s solution combines artificial intelligence (AI), edge computing and scalable sensor fusion technology to provide the checkout-free operation. The company’s software identifies the products that shoppers are taking off the shelves and uses cameras and shelf-weight sensors to determine their purchases. Items removed from the shelf and then put back aren’t charged. No personal data is retained, and all servers are located on-site.
Customers use a debit or credit card to open the door of the store and then enter, take the products they want, walk to the exit — where their purchase is displayed and payment processed automatically — and then leave.
Products sold at AH To Go include ready-to-eat foods like sandwiches, wraps, salads and side dishes; pre-cut fruit; yogurt and milk; bottled water, juice and soft drinks; and a range of other convenience-focused meal, snack and beverage options, with a focus on healthy items.
“Speed and convenience are paramount for our travelers. We are happy to give a stage to this innovation from Albert Heijn and are naturally extremely proud that we can be the first to offer visitors to Schiphol the benefits of checkout-free shopping,” commented Irene Muysson, head of retail, food and beverage and commercial services at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. “We are constantly looking at how we can improve the shopping experience through the use of new digital technologies.”
Last week, Ahold Delhaize’s U.S. arm unveiled “lunchbox,” a small-format store concept employing frictionless checkout technology.
Retail Business Services (RBS), part of Ahold Delhaize USA, said is testing lunchbox at its office in Quincy, Mass. For the project, RBS partnered with digital solution provider UST Global to develop the store, which will allow customers to make cashierless purchases by scanning in as they enter, selecting items and then walking out.
Plans call for a lunchbox store to be piloted at another RBS office in 2020, an RBS spokeswoman said, adding that talks about a future rollout of the concept are ongoing.