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Aldi tests checkout-free tech at Illinois store

It’s the only known store the Batavia, Ill.-based grocer has in operation that features the technology, branded “Aldi Go”

The Aldi grocery store at 2275 Galena Blvd. in Aurora, Ill., still has the coin-operated shopping carts, and the “Aldi Finds” aisle, and customers are still likely to see a staff member with a pallet forklift full of its discount inventory.

Shoppers might not notice until they reach the checkout, however, that this Aldi location is unlike any other in the rapidly growing chain. The supermarket is equipped with an unknown number of miniature cameras installed in the ceiling that enable shoppers to skip the process of scanning products at checkout via downloading an app from cashierless tech company Grabango. 

It’s the only known store the Batavia, Ill.-based grocer has in operation that features the technology. Samantha Seymour of Zeno Group, which handles public relations for the grocer, declined to comment on the pilot program.

The Aldi location features a few signs near the entrance of the store explaining that “Checkout just got faster” and encouraging customers to download the app that enables them to “Shop. Scan. Go.” 

Downloading the Grabango app and adding credit card information takes about five minutes. Then as shoppers make their way through the store, miniature cameras record the items placed in their cart. Once they’re done shopping, they can make their way to a kiosk at the front of the store, scan a QR code on the app, and walk out. 

Their credit cards are charged automatically without scanning items. Some items require some extra attention, though. Meat and packaged produce must still be scanned, loose produce must be weighed, and store employees still must check IDs for alcoholic beverages. 

On Tuesday morning, Aldi employees assisted customers at the front of the store, helping them to download and navigate the Grabango app. Grabango did not respond to a request for information about the technology. 

The company is typically known for deploying its tech at convenience store chains such as Circle K, MAPCO, and Couche-Tard.

In December, Grabango announced a new partnership with South American c-store operator Copec to upgrade 100 of its stores with the frictionless technology. 

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