Carrefour Opens New Scan-Free Convenience Store
The world's second largest grocery chain and founder of the format hypermarkets, French Carrefour, recently opened its new “Flash store” in Paris.
The French group’s convenience outlet is developed in collaboration with Californian start-up AiFi. The shop has few products, only 900, which is fewer than most discount stores. In return, Carrefour promises fast shopping and super-fast payment; 10 seconds to shop and 10 seconds to pay.
The really practical side compared to Fresh stores is that customers can put the products straight in their shopping bags without having to scan. Once finished, the customer’s shopping is automatically validated, and payment is contactless, but also allows for using cash.
Unlike Amazon’s hi-tech grocery format, customers are free to enter and exit the Flash 10/10 store without having to pass through a gateway.
There is also no need to download an app or register beforehand. That can make a stark difference for most customers.
The automated experience is made possible by 60 HD cameras, 2,000 sensors built into the connected shelves, an algorithm for interpreting all the data, and a proprietary tablet payment system.
Customers are tracked anonymously as a virtual avatar is allocated to them as soon as they enter the store. The products that they pick up are automatically detected and then added to their basket.
Carrefour has been assessing the concept at its head office in Massy for over a year before evaluating it in public. So far only in Paris.
“The Flash concept checks our customers’ expectations. They want to be able enter the store easily, know what they are buying, pay quickly and then leave. Compared with other existing concepts, with Carrefour Flash, customers get speed and accessibility in a unique way,” says Elodie Perthuisot, the Carrefour Group’s Executive Director of E-Commerce, Data and Digital Transformation.
A staff of four
Four staff will be on-hand to open the store and oversee its operation, and manage its e-commerce services, including pedestrian click & collect.
“The system is estimated to be 96% accurate,” explains Miguel Angel González Gisbert, director of technology and data for the Carrefour group.
Small panels explain the rules to avoid errors: if you come in a group, it is the one who pays who must take the products and you must avoid passing the products from hand to hand, or the system may run out of products.
The four employees have been trained for three weeks in the technology and are now responsible for correcting the baskets in the event of a problem, advising customers, and maintaining the premises.
This first store open to the public constitutes a new test phase for the group, which has not yet planned to develop it elsewhere in France.
Sources: Carrefour, Namnews, Reuters a.o.