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Aldi to pilot frictionless shopping at Netherlands store

Aldi Nord store
An Aldi Nord store in the Netherlands will soon offer a cashierless shopping experience.

 Aldi is testing a cashier-less store in the Netherlands.

The discount grocer is partnering with computer vision company Trigo Vision Ltd. to test an autonomous shopping experience at an Aldi Nord store in Utrecht, Netherlands. In the 4,300-sq.-ft. store, ceiling-mounted cameras connected to Trigo algorithmic technology will automatically track shoppers' movements and product choices in the store in real time, enabling customers to walk into a store, pick up their desired items, and walk out without stopping at the checkout.

Payments and receipts will be settled digitally. The system does not use facial recognition, eye or fingerprint scans, or any other biometric identifiers. Instead, the Trigo computer vision technology only tracks movements of shoppers and items in the store. Data on shopper and product movement and choice are anonymized, and the system is compliant with European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) privacy requirements.

In the U.S., an increasing number of retailers are piloting frictionless shopping technology that enables consumers to simply leave a store after selecting items, with no need for scanning items or stopping at a payment terminal. Amazon has been a pioneer in this area with its “Just Walk Out” system, which combines computer vision, sensor fusion, and machine-learning algorithms to let customers identify themselves via app or credit card and then frictionlessly shop.

In addition to offering Just Walk Out at its own Amazon Go, Amazon Fresh, and Whole Foods grocery and convenience locations, the omnichannel giant has been licensing it to other retailers since 2020.

In another recent example, Verizon launched a frictionless pop-up store format called Express Shop, running on the Verizon MEC platform and 5G network, along with the AiFi computer vision- and AI- based autonomous shopping solution, at the BottleRock Napa Valley Music Festival. Customers enter by tapping a credit card at the entrance. Once inside the store, AiFi’s computer vision-powered cameras track what items are taken and customers can exit, with receipts delivered to their email in minutes.

“We are very happy and honored with the choice for Utrecht,” said Jan Oostvogels, CEO of Aldi Holding BV in the Netherlands. “The high degree of digitization in the Netherlands means that we are convinced that we have the right climate here to test new technologies like these. As the inventor of discount, Aldi is proud to take this step. The testing of this new concept is in line with current developments at ALDI and is in line with the strategy to make shopping as easy as possible, everywhere and for everyone.”

"Digitalization must support our core strategy and make shopping even easier for our customers,” said Kashif Ansari, chief strategy officer at Aldi Einkauf SE & Co. oHG. 

"Trigo is particularly proud to work with Aldi, who has been at the forefront of grocery retail innovation for over a century,” said Michael Gabay, Trigo co-founder and CEO. “With frictionless technology, the general public will be able to experience ease of shopping, while retailers will benefit from better inventory control, shrinkage reduction, as well as a positive customer service focus.”

Headquartered in Germany and operating globally, Aldi has more than 2,100 stores across 37 U.S. states and is on track to become the third-largest grocery retailer in the U.S. by store count by the end of 2022. Aldi Nord operates in the U.S. as Trader Joe’s.

Tel Aviv, Israel-based Trigo provides an advanced retail automation platform that identifies customers' shopping items utilizing artificial intelligence and algorithmic technology.

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