Bünting enables autonomous shopping at off-peak hours with Wanzl

East Frisian retail company Bünting enables customers of its new Combi City store in Emden to shop in self-service mode at off-peak hours. While regular sales operations prevail during normal opening hours, Monday to Saturday from 8 am to 6 pm, customers can shop autonomously without staff presence between 6 pm and 11 pm as well as between 6 am and 8 am. General solution provider for the hybrid convenience store concept is shopfitting specialist Wanzl.

The company is responsible for in-store design and access control technology. With a sales area of 500 square metres, the compact store caters to consumers in the city centre of Emden. Depending on the time of day, they complete their purchases at manned checkouts or self-checkout terminals from Diebold Nixdorf.


Unattended shopping after closing time

After the store has closed its doors for normal sales operations, customers gain access via their bank card or Bünting’s customer card dubbed Moin Card. This is available both as physical card and as app. Once inside, they can move freely around the sales area. As usual, they take the desired products from the shelves and place them in their shopping trolley or hand basket.

Large digital signage monitors inform about current offerings and help with orientation. Customers can also find advice on items and special offers in the app or via menu of the self-checkout terminals. There they scan their purchases and pay by bank card. Shoppers can then leave the store via exit gates.

Customers scan their purchases at Diebold Nixdorf self-checkout systems and pay by bank card. (Photo: Wanzl)

Wanzl Connect controls the operation

All technological processes, such as access control, lighting or store radio in the Combi City store are controlled via the Wanzl Connect operating system. The cloud-based platform monitors the equipment to detect failures and malfunctions. The system also senses atypical behaviour of shoppers. This is to ensure a safe autonomous operation.

With its novel hybrid concept, Bünting’s Combi city store in Emden presents itself as an interesting alternative to completely unmanned stores. Customers can take advantage of longer opening hours while employees only work and need to be paid during core hours.

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Joachim Pinhammer

Joachim Pinhammer supports retail and technology companies with consulting and marketing expertise. He was Senior Analyst and Research Director Retail Technology at the London-based analyst group Planet Retail. Prior to that, he was the global marketing director for the retail division of Wincor Nixdorf (now Diebold Nixdorf). Joachim Pinhammer is a regular speaker at events organised by Messe Düsseldorf (EuroShop and EuroCIS), the EHI and further industry conferences. His reports are regularly published by trade magazines and online retail industry media.

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