Spar Switzerland and Avia open autonomous C-store Spar express

Swiss Spar Handels AG has joined forces with service station operator Avia to open its first 24-hour convenience store without staff presence. At Spar Express on Zurich’s Sihlquai, customers can shop for groceries and help themselves to snacks and coffee around the clock, seven days a week.

Covering an area of 50 square meters, the convenience store offers around 1,000 everyday items. In addition to baked goods, fruit & vegetables, dairy products, meat and beverages, customers can also find hygiene products and car accessories. The company operates the outlet completely without any staff presence. Customers who are still unfamiliar with the system will receive support from students in the first few days after opening.


To access the new Spar Express Go24 format, customers scan a QR code with their smartphone at the entrance. After they accepted terms and conditions, the door opens. They then scan chosen items with their mobile as well. Finally, they pay for their purchases using a card, Apple Pay or Google Pay. Customers who also want to refill the tanks of their car pay for the fuel separately at the Avia service station. Cash payment is also accepted there.

Cameras monitor operations

The store is equipped with cameras and sensor technology. The retail company monitors sales using an app. In this way, it ensures that the store is replenished with new stock in good time. Customers can get help online via a remote connection if needed.

Employees are only needed to replenish the goods. (Photo: Spar Switzerland)

Spar and Avia plan to jointly open more 24-hour C-stores at service stations. Moreover, Spar Switzerland plans to set up Go24 container stores in areas without nearby shopping facilities. The new concept is aimed to complement existing stores and offer customers an opportunity to stock up on groceries outside business hours. These autonomous stores will initially be tested in the two Graubünden communities of Rueras and Surava, as well as at Spar headquarters in St. Gallen.

Competitor Migros already operates a similar format developed under the name Teo by subsidiary Tegut in Germany, where it is being rolled out successfully. As Retail Optimiser reported, the Swiss retailer had recently opened its first Teo in its home country. The autonomous store in Bürglen in the canton of Thurgau runs entirely on GK’s software platform.

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Joachim Pinhammer

Joachim Pinhammer unterstützt als Retail Experte Handels- und Technologie-Unternehmen durch Beratung und Marketing-Expertise. Er war als Senior Analyst und Director Retail Technology bei der Analysten-Gruppe Planet Retail tätig. Davor war er als Director Marketing der Wincor Nixdorf AG (heute Diebold Nixdorf) verantwortlich für den internationalen Marketingauftritt der Retail Division des Unternehmens. Joachim Pinhammer ist regelmäßiger Sprecher auf Veranstaltungen der Messe Düsseldorf (EuroShop und EuroCIS), des EHIs und anderen Branchen-Events. Er veröffentlicht Fachbeiträge in Magazinen und Online-Foren der Branche.

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