Dutch petrol station operator Tango has opened a first unmanned container store together with Selecta last week. The new concept was realised at a pay-at-the-pump petrol station in The Hague. Under the name ‘go shop By Tango’, the petrol station operator, which belongs to the Q8 brand of Kuwait Petroleum International, offers its customers coffee specialities, drinks, and food in self-service around the clock, which can be purchased exclusively cashless.
“Tango plans to deploy the unmanned container store at 100 more unmanned petrol station locations in Belgium and the Netherlands over the next three to four years,” reports Tim Goossens, Selecta’s managing director for Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, speaking with the Retail Optimiser.
Without access restriction, customers can enter the container. Inside the store are two coffee machines and two intelligent double refrigerators from the Duo 600 series with Grab&Go technology. In order to open the so-called Foodies Grab&Go Smart Fridges, consumers must first deposit a cashless payment method, for example the service station operator’s app, Apple Pay, a credit card or a giro card.
Automated receipt calculation using weight data
From 30 product compartments per refrigerator, customers can select their goods or also return items that have already been removed after checking them. The intelligent technology detects whether an item has been taken out and displays the chosen selection on the screen. When closing the door, the machine’s software only calculates those products that have been taken. Compared to earlier grab-and-go solutions used at Selecta, several items can now be charged during one transaction.
The vending machine recognises removed and returned goods by means of weighing technology built into the refrigerator. The technology behind is provided by Swedish supplier Instant Systems, with which Selecta is working since 2020. The payment amount is charged to the customer’s account via the previously stored payment method. Finally, customers can receive the receipt directly online in their mailbox by entering their e-mail address.
Smart technology drives efficient service
The installation, commissioning and technical service of the autonomous container store are carried out by Selecta, as well as the refilling of the food and all processes related to the care of the goods. In the Netherlands, the vending machine solutions provider sources the groceries from Albert Heijn. The scheduling of service staff for both the new autonomous store and all other vending machines is planned with the help of a telemetric system from software provider Televend. The data of the smart fridge and the coffee vending machines can be viewed in real time, for example at what time, which products were taken from the smart fridge and with which payment method the customer completed his purchase. Even technical faults or temperature data are recorded.
The newly opened store is in the Pr. Beatrixlaan in Bezuidenhout district in The Hague. The outer shell of the container store was manufactured by Dutch company Modulaire Units in Bergschenhoek. A second unmanned container store is expected to open at the end of January near Rotterdam at the company’s own petrol station located at Nieuwe Damlaan in Schiedam. In addition to manned service stations, Tango currently operates 200 unmanned service stations in the Netherlands, as well as 206 unmanned sites in Belgium, operating under the name Q8.