Colruyt tests inhouse developed smart cart in Belgium

Coruyt is testing an in-house developed self-scanning shopping trolley in its store in Halle in the Belgian province of Flemish Brabant. If used in combination with payment by the Colruyt app, users can leave the store without going to a checkout. Since beginning of March, the smart cart has been available for Colruyt employees only. After a thorough evaluation, the retailer will decide whether the technology can be trialled by all customers in the course of this year. The shopping trolley developed by Colruyt is the first smart cart in Belgium. The project was supported by a Flemish government agency, Flanders Innovation and Entrepreneurship (VLAIO), which finances strategic and industrial research.

The shopping trolley is equipped with a tablet-sized display with a built-in barcode scanner. This allows the user to scan the products they want to buy. Using sensors, camera technology and artificial intelligence, the trolley checks that the products are scanned correctly and additionally weighs them. The digital shopping basket is uploaded to the display in real-time, where customers can monitor their purchases. When shopping with the smart trolley, discounts are applied during the scanning process. The trolley also recognises which products have been removed, making it easy for customers to return products to the shelves. The retailer has taken a number of precautions to prevent improper use. Smart sensors in the shopping trolley prevent errors, discrepancies and fraud. The Colruyt app can be used for automatic payment as the customer leaves the store.


“For products without a barcode, like fruit and vegetables, we have provided a solution for the future: initially, customers will be able to weigh the products on a specially equipped scale in the fresh market. Via a code on the scale, the customer can enter the weighed products on the shopping cart to add them to the current account. During the test with employees, fruits and vegetables will be placed separately in the cart, and they will be weighed at the checkout,” says Jo Willemyns, COO Retail at Colruyt Group and General Manager Colruyt Lowest Prices.

Committed to innovation

The Belgian retail group develops a lot of innovative technology inhouse through its subsidiary ‘Colruyt Group Smart Innovation’ and tests some of them at its store in Halle. Just last year, Colruyt has launched a solution for identifying products at the checkout with vision recognition technology, as reported by The Retail Optimiser. A camera mounted above the checkout uses artificial intelligence to identify items as an employee moves them from one shopping trolley to another. The technology can currently be found in 20 stores and is being rolled out. With this innovation, Colruyt won one of this year’s EHI Reta Awards.

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Magdalena Nowak

Magdalena Nowak is a trainee in the editorial team of The Retail Optimiser. She has gained valuable insights into the processes of the industry during previous jobs on the retail floor. Magdalena Nowak is studying journalism at Johannes-Gutenberg-Universität in Mainz.

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