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Ahold Delhaize tests ‘frictionless store’

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QUINCY, Mass. — Ahold Delhaize is testing its version of a “frictionless store” on both sides of the Atlantic. The concept allows customers to scan a debit card, take the items they want from store shelves and leave without going through a ­checkout.

In the United States, the trial is being conducted at the offices of Ahold Delhaize USA’s Retail Business Services unit here. In Europe, the Albert Heijn supermarket chain has established a digital store at Schiphol Airport for a two-month trial.

The U.S. pilot, called Lunchbox, was developed by Retail Business Services in partnership with UST Global and Intel. Retail Business Services led the application development and technology connectivity and provided expertise in food retail operations, while UST Global and its partners provided artificial technology solutions and physical infrastructure for the store, which will be demonstrated at the National Retail Federation (NRF) Big Show in January.

“Lunchbox is an easy, fresh shopping alternative,” says Paul Scorza, executive vice president of information technology and chief information officer at Retail Business Services. “Once registered, shoppers simply scan in, shop and walk out. It’s that easy. And it offers fresh, healthy options 24/7. You can grab a snack, a salad, fresh fruit or even a carton of milk on your way home.”

The core technology for Lunchbox was developed in Retail Business Services’ Innovation lab and tech hub and consists of a proprietary app that admits shoppers to the store and charges them for their purchases. A variety of payment options, including PayPal, Venmo, Apple Pay and Google Pay, have been integrated into the app.

According to Retail Business Services, Lunchbox is less costly and more efficient than other frictionless store technologies and can be implemented in a matter of weeks.


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