Today, Rewe subsidiary Lekkerland launched an autonomous container store as a test just for its employees on its own premises in Frechen. In this case, the technology comes from Californian specialist AiFi. In the store, customers take the products they want from the shelves themselves. The shopping basket is calculated in Amazon’s just-walk-out style without the need to scan the items.
Lekkerland’s Director of Franchise and Convenience, Michael Mayer-Sonnenburg, reveals on LinkedIn that a Lekkerland mini-market with AiFi technology, accessible to all shoppers, will soon go live “at a great location in NRW”.
Meanwhile, Lekkerland’s parent company continues to expand its use of Pick & Go technology from Israeli manufacturer Trigo: Shopping without any scanning is now possible at four Rewe outlets in Cologne and Berlin.
Lekkerland tests different technologies
In parallel, Lekkerland is testing several other different technologies for autonomous mini-stores, now also with AiFi. The technology is not completely new. The largest number of scan-free stores worldwide has been equipped by AiFi so far: In Poland, the retail company Żabka now already operates over 50 unmanned mini-stores with AiFi under the name Żabka Nano.
At Rewe Group, Lekkerland is now testing four different technologies to automate convenience stores and mini-markets: In October last year, the company opened a vending machine for groceries based on Latebird’s technology on a fast-charging site for e-cars in Bispingen, North Rhine-Westphalia, under the name Rewe Ready.
Ministores also with self-checkouts
Lekkerland and Rewe are also testing unmanned concepts where the customer has to scan the goods at self-checkouts. For the first time, Lekkerland has put this into operation under its Frischwerk banner operation in two houses of the hospital operator Sana Kliniken in Stuttgart and Munich.
Rewe Markt GmbH then opened several self-scanning mini-stores last year under the banner name of Nahkauf. The Nahkauf boxes bear the name of the independent retailer who operates them. A year ago, for example, a first mini-market was opened in Pettstadt under the name Josefs Nahkauf Box. Others followed.
No consistent banner for franchisees yet
It seems to be controversial within Rewe Group to what extent the name of its convenience banner Rewe To Go should and may be used for these experiments. After the test stores were originally planned under the logo of Rewe To Go, the Rewe Group is now writing other names on the mini-stores for the time being.