Edeka Jäger has converted its supermarket at Stuttgart Airport into a 24/7 store. This allows passengers to shop even at night. Between 10 pm and 6 am, the Edeka shopowner operates the store without staff. During this time, customers enter the store via a card access system from shopfitting specialist Wanzl. They pay cashless for their purchases at self- checkouts from Diebold Nixdorf running POS software from GK. To leave the store, they scan the barcode on their receipt at the exit.
Owner Florian Jäger told The Retail Optimiser that he wanted to test a simple and cost-effective concept to run his stores with minimised staffing, if this was necessary due to labour shortages. Demographic development and growing difficulties in finding suitable employees made this more and more a requirement. The location at the airport offers a safe environment to gain experience with unattended operation and to share it with other retailers in the cooperative.
Since end of July, Edeka Jäger’s customers have been able to shop during night times at Stuttgart Airport’s Terminal 3. ”After the first few weeks of operation, I am as enthusiastic as before,” Jäger told The Retail Optimiser, even though there is still work to be done. ”99 per cent error-free operation is not enough for me,” he says. He works closely with his technology partners to eliminate possible sources of obstruction. For example, he says, the self-service checkout systems were developed for use with a supervisor. If there is a malfunction in the checkout process, it must be aborted or cancelled. Therefore, a function has been introduced that automatically resets the system if no action is performed by the operator within 45 seconds. Then the customer can pay at another cash register.
Cameras and access restrictions create security
Jäger is aware that unattended operation involves higher risks. So far, however, there have been no major problems with theft or fraud. However, the airport offers a protected environment. The presence of security personnel keeps gang-related crime at bay. In addition, the market is monitored by cameras. The data of the card with which a customer has registered is also stored for possible follow-up in case of justified suspicion. Jäger has deliberately waived additional cost-intensive security systems such as scales or sensors.
Protection of minors is also guaranteed at night. Alcoholic beverages, such as beer, wine or mixed drinks, are kept in a locked area that is only accessible to persons over 18 years of age after scanning their identity card. Florian Jäger has decided not to offer spirits and tobacco products during the night hours. These products are kept in cupboards that are closed with roller shutters. Empties are also not accepted at these times, as the bottle return systems cannot be serviced by staff in the event of a malfunction or if their capacity is exhausted.
The video from shopfitter Wanzl shows how the unattended operation works. Subtitles in German.