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Frictionless Gains Ground in Europe

Overseas Amazon competitor Trigo installs cashierless checkout in German supermarket chain
Marian Zboraj, Progressive Grocer
Frictionless Gains Ground in Europe
Netto’s Trigo-powered store recently opened in Munich, bringing a checkout-free solution to the discount shopping experience.

Amazon’s Just Walk Out tech isn’t the only game in town when it comes to frictionless checkout technology. Israel-based computer vision company Trigo is gaining ground in Europe through a partnership with Netto Marken-Discount on its first hybrid checkout-free grocery store in Munich.

Trigo transforms existing supermarkets into fully autonomous or hybrid digital stores, combining artificial-intelligence technology with ceiling-mounted cameras to create a seamless shopping experience. Shoppers use an app to scan a QR code as they enter, and then will be free to pick up items and leave without having to wait in a checkout line. The purchase amount is automatically deducted via the registered payment method stored in the app.

Owned by The EDEKA Group, one of the largest supermarket chains in the world, Netto has more than 4,000 stores across Germany. The 250-square-meter (approximately 2,690-square-foot) hybrid checkout-free store is located in Munich’s Schwabing West neighborhood, near the University of Munich, and boasts more than 3,500 SKUs. Shoppers who prefer to use traditional checkout still have that option. 

“Using ‘Pick&Go,’ we’re testing an innovative shopping service for customers,” said Christina Stylianou, head of corporate communications at Netto. “At the same time, this new offer enables us to respond to the current desire of many people for fewer contacts in everyday life.”

For items with an age restriction, age verification for alcohol and tobacco will be processed once via the app on customers’ first visit. Furthermore, while Trigo’s GDPR-compliant, privacy-by-design solution anonymizes a shopper’s in-store movement and product choice data, it doesn’t use any biometric or facial recognition data. This is an important feature, since Germany has some of the toughest data protection and privacy regulations.

“Trigo works with some of the biggest names in the retail space, and we are particularly excited to be partnering with Netto to open the first hybrid frictionless discount store in the world,” said Michael Gabay, Trigo’s co-founder and CEO. “The general public will be able to enjoy the competitive pricing of the discounter, together with a great shopping experience.”

Trigo recently partnered with other major European food retailers such as Tesco, Rewe and Aldi Nord on seamless shopping solutions, and also recently signed an agreement to join Google Cloud’s partner ecosystem to make it easier for retailers to transform to AI-powered autonomous stores, putting some pressure on online retailer giant Amazon.

Amazon’s autonomous Just Walk Out tech is made possible by a combination of computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning. Customers are prompted at the store’s entry gates to choose whether they want to use Just Walk Out shopping or the traditional checkout lanes. If opting for Just Walk Out, customers can skip the checkout and will be charged for their items via their Amazon account or credit card. The autonomous tech is available at Amazon Fresh grocery stores and Whole Foods Market stores.

Seattle-based Amazon is No. 2 on Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, while its wholly owned subsidiary, Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods, is No. 26 on PG’s list.

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