Employees of the largest retailer-owned cooperative in the U.S. are the first to try its new autonomous supermarket model.
Wakefern Food Corp., which serves as the logistics, distribution and merchandising arm for grocery stores operating under banners including ShopRite, is piloting a completely autonomous grocery store within its innovation and design center located at its Edison, N.J. headquarters.
Utilizing the Trigo artificial intelligence (AI)-based EasyOut frictionless checkout platform, the automated store enables shoppers to use an app to scan a QR code as they enter. Customers can then pick up items and leave without having to check out or pass through an exit gate.
No human associates work at the 500-sq.-ft. store location, which stocks 600 SKUs across product categories including fresh sandwiches, prepared foods, over-the-counter medicine, pre-packaged deli meat, refrigerated items, and hygiene & toiletries.
Wakefern plans to use this pllot store to test the frictionless checkout technology, as well as new use cases, hardware, and algorithms. It will serve as a proof of concept store and innovation test site, where Wakefern can evaluate multiple technologies.
"With Trigo's frictionless technology, Wakefern Food Corp. is opening up access to cutting-edge innovation for our members," said Charlie McWeeney, VP of technology, innovation, & strategy, Wakefern Food Corp. "We are excited to pilot Trigo's solution and offer our consumers the ultimate in checkout convenience."
"Trigo is proud to work with some of the largest grocery retailers around the world, so partnering with Wakefern Food Corp., was a natural step for the company," said Michael Gabay, Trigo co-founder and CEO. "By helping Wakefern convert some store formats, or develop new ones that are exclusive to their brands, we can help them accelerate their growth within the market and pave the way for frictionless shopping in the future."
Wakefern focuses on the customer
This autonomous shopping pilot is Wakefern’s latest attempt to create a more customer-centric shopping experience. The company is also utilizing customer analytics technology from dunnhumby. Wakefern leverages dunnhumby customer data models and insights to help make merchandising decisions that will improve the shopping experience and drive engagement and growth across its store base.
dunnhumby’s technology is built on top of Wakefern’s existing merchandising and data analytic capabilities, with the goal of putting the customer at the center of all decisions.
Meanwhile, the Wakefern pilot of frictionless checkout marks the first deployment of Israel-based Trigo’s technology in the U.S. The vendor’s solution is in use at automated stores in Europe, such as a recently opened location of German grocery giant REWE Group.
Founded in 1946, Wakefern Food Corp. comprises nearly 50 member families who today independently own and operate 360 supermarkets under the ShopRite, Price Rite Marketplace, The Fresh Grocer, Dearborn Market, Gourmet Garage and Fairway Market banners in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.