Aldi Süd is testing the use of a technology that makes the scanning of goods obsolete for the first time in the USA. However, for its Aldi Go store in the city of Aurora near Chicago in the US state of Illinois, the discount giant is not relying on AiFi technology to automatically recognise purchases, as in London, but on AiFis also Californian-based competitor Grabango. Aldi’s POS software in the USA was developed by German specialists Gebit. Grabango has so far mainly equipped convenience stores such as Circle K, Mapco and Couche-Tard in the USA and 7-Eleven in Australia with scanless technology.
The test at this Aldi store on Galena Boulevard in Aurora has been running since November last year. However, Aldi Süd in the USA is still not providing any information about the test when asked and has also obliged Grabango to remain silent. The US news service Grocery Drive has now made the test public.
With Grabango’s technology, customers’ goods no longer need to be scanned. The system uses computer vision with ceiling-mounted cameras. In principle, Grabango’s solution does not require shelf sensors like the Trigo technology used by Aldi Nord in Utrecht. However, the use of an app is currently mandatory in the Aurora shop.
Completion of the purchase at self-checkouts
Unlike the Aldi Süd store in London, which is equipped with AiFi technology, the entrance to the Aurora store is completely open and has no gates. This is despite the fact that it is still possible to pay at a regular checkout. However, every customer must either go to a manned checkout or a self-checkout at the end of their trip through the store and complete their purchase there. In this way, Aldi Süd can prevent fraudsters from pretending to shop with Grabango but leaving the store without paying. When purchasing items with age restrictions, such as alcohol, an employee authorises the purchase via a button in the app.
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All Photos: Timothy Inklebarger / Supermarket News
Shoppers have to download a Grabango app onto their smartphone and register their credit card in order to be able to make scanless purchases in the store. The solution accepts the most common credit cards as well as Apple Pay. The technology provider is working on a solution to also offer Google Pay. Customers who choose to use Aldi Go must present their smartphone at a checkout terminal to complete the transaction.
Giant Eagle uses Grabango
US retailer Giant Eagle was the first retailer to use Grabango’s solution in 2020, following a test phase of the system in its approximately 280 square metre GetGo Cafe+Market convenience store. After the test, Giant Eagle decided to implement the checkout system in other GetGo Cafe+Market stores.
Timothy Inklebarger, editor of Supermarket News, has visited the Aldi Go store in Aurora, Illinois. We are very pleased that he and his publishing house have allowed us to show his images here.