Spotlight: Omnitalk Retail visits the Trigo-powered Aldi Nord store in Utrecht, the Netherlands

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Trigo Comms

11 August 2022

Shortly before its big opening, retail tech thought leaders and influencers Chris Walton and Anne Mezzenga of Omnitalk Retail visited the Trigo-powered Aldi Nord store in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Check out their visit in the video above or read the summary below.

A first look at Aldi Nord’s fully autonomous store

Chris and Anne got a “sneak peek” into Aldi Nord’s first and fully autonomous store in Utrecht during the last phase of its beta test.

Entering the store was simple and seamless – Chris opened his unique QR code in the Aldi app, scanned it at the entry gate, and walked into the store.

As Chris walked around the store to shop and explore the Netherlands’ first autonomous store, Anne explains that at the store, “you’ll find everything you’d expect at a traditional grocery store.” Chris then continues to visit different departments and picks up items, such as:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Freshly baked bread and bakery items
  • On-demand beverages – hot coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Milk and cheese products
  • Frozen foods
  • ‘Take and bake’ food
  • Household essentials
  • Alcoholic beverages – wine and beer

The Aldi Nord store also includes “a couple of features that are really unique to this store,” Anne explains. She discusses that the first feature,“ is the weighted scale that is tied to the computer vision AI system that can be used to purchase fruits and vegetables by weight.” Supporting weighted scales in fully autonomous stores is an important milestone for the tech as it demonstrates its ability to integrate with devices that enable retailers to maintain their brand’s shopping experience that customers enjoy and are familiar with. In the coming months, shoppers and retailers will be able to enjoy this feature at some of the upcoming Trigo-powered stores opening to the public.

Anne continues to describe the other feature distinct to the store, “the specific area reserved for the purchase of alcohol. In the Utrecht store, an Aldi employee checks Chris’ ID and then allows him to enter a separate area to purchase his wine and beer at the conclusion of his trip. Then, when he’s all set, he can just head out of the store and his receipt will be emailed to him.” 

Alcohol and other age-restricted items aren’t new at Trigo-powered stores, but, as Anne explained, an area sectioned off for these items is. Each retailer decides independently how they want to support the purchase of age-restricted items, which can include in-app age verification or employee-manned stands, where an employee checks your ID and then hands you the item of your choice. The Aldi Nord store demonstrates the latest way retailers can support age-restricted items to provide their customers with the full supermarket experience.

Takeaways from the 100% autonomous shopping experience

Chris’ initial reaction to the Aldi Nord fully autonomous shopping experience: “it was super impressive.”

He then dives into what stood out to him during their exclusive visit to the store – the first was that the store offered the full grocery experience. This is no surprise since, at over 4,000 sq. ft., the Aldi Nord store is the largest Trigo-powered store currently open to the public and, as discussed earlier, the store includes many use cases that one would find in any typical full-size grocery store. Chris was also impressed that Aldi Nord went “all in” with its 100% autonomous format, which he believes “takes guts.” Chris’ sentiment is because many retailers prefer to begin with the hybrid format, as it is one of the ways retailers can ease into the world of autonomous stores. However, Aldi Nord wanted to start off with a bang and open their first store with the 100% autonomous format, which, as Chris says, “I applaud them profusely for that.”

Chris concludes his experience in the store with the following:

“The last point I will make in close, and I think this is really important, is, fair play to Aldi Nord and Trigo for allowing us to come in and shoot video because this was raw, this footage was raw, this store was raw, you got a look inside…of what innovation looks like when you’re in the process of innovation. You know, and that’s not something that you typically see, and it’s not something that you typically see retailers and solutions providers allow[ing] people like us to come in and do. So fair play to them and thank you for allowing us to give a special glimpse here today.”

It is indeed exciting and unique to be able to see this type of store and technology while it is still in its beta phase. Now that the store is open to the public, you have the opportunity to see its complete transformation into a fully operational autonomous store. 

So if you find yourself in Utrecht, stop by to experience fully autonomous discount shopping firsthand – for your everyday shopping needs or simply just for fun: Lange Viestraat 2B, 3511 BK, Utrecht, Netherlands.

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