The supermarket chain Rewe is testing a system that allows customers to shop without having to pay at the checkout. To do this, they need a smartphone app with which they can log into a special entrance barrier, then they can take all the products they want from the shelves, pack them and finally just walk out of the market. The invoice will then appear automatically in the app. A receipt complaint can also be triggered via the app.
The technology used by Rewe from Trigo Vision is called “Pick & Go”. It will first be tested by employees in a store on Zeppelinstrasse in Cologne. 13 employees and a store management work there. If the system and processes prove themselves in the market, things should start for the general public on Zepplinstrasse in the coming late summer.
“We will put the system through its paces for a few weeks before our customers are invited to hybrid shopping,” explains Rewe project manager Anika Vooes. All imaginable purchasing processes should be checked under real conditions and whether all components function as they were planned and simulated. It should also be checked how intuitive the process in the app is, whether all products in the store are correctly identified and whether the products are correctly displayed in the invoice.
Classic shopping with payment at the cash register is still an integral part of the concept. That is why Rewe calls the concept “hybrid shopping”. The Cologne market is one of the first supermarkets in Europe to enable shopping in this way under real conditions, reports Rewe.
For “Pick & Go”, Trigo created a 3D model of the supermarket in order to digitally map the movements in it. Customers could then select items and go out with them while protecting their privacy. Customers should not be personally identifiable in the images recorded for shopping; Signs at the supermarket entrance should indicate what is going on. The system includes “intelligent cameras” and sensors in the shelves as well as servers, switches and around six kilometers of network cable.
Approaches to shopping without pulling out cash or cards at the checkout have been around for some time. The Metro Group had already tested RFID chips on the goods in its Future Store a good ten years ago. With the Payfree technology, customers can take the goods marked with RFID chips from the shelf and leave the store through a scanner sluice. It is in competition with Amazon’s “Just Walk Out”. Cameras and sensors should also recognize and register the goods.