Israeli ‘no payment’ technology helps Tesco and Rewe compete with Amazon

Is a “just go out” shopping revolution looming in Europe? Last month, three of Europe’s largest grocery retailers opened cashier-less stores that allow customers to enter, select their items and exit without waiting in checkout lines or scanning any items.

“Some people say this is the biggest thing that has happened this year in retail,” says Michael Gabay, chief executive of Trigo, the Israeli company that provides the technology for the system.

Shoppers at the Tesco Express store in central London and the REWE supermarket chain in Cologne, Germany, were able to experience the technology for the first time last month. After downloading the app from the store and creating a payment profile, buyers need to scan a QR code upon entering the store to log into the system. Then after walking around the store and choosing their products, they can simply walk out of the store without doing anything else.

A network of cameras placed around the store follows each shopper, tracking only their skeleton, “without biometric tracking, without facial recognition and without knowing who you are,” explains Gabay. “The cameras track everything that is taken, with fraud prevention to make sure people can’t fool the system. It’s over 99% accurate and works great.”

That gives traditional retailers the tools to compete with Amazon’s growing network of boxless retail chains. Amazon now has around 30 branches of its Amazon Go convenience store chain and 18 Amazon Fresh supermarket chains in the US The retail giant recently entered the European market with six Amazon Fresh stores in the UK, with plans to plus.

Trigo’s “cashierless” technology was implemented at Rewe in Cologne, Germany. (credit: Kia Schulz)

“The global war between Amazon and the grocery industry has started,” says Gabay. “Amazon entered the supermarket space very aggressively. We are the only company that offers retailers the technology to compete.”

The implementation challenges are significant, Gabay says. “Amazon is building new stores that are designed with its technology from the ground up,” he says. “Our mission is much more challenging: break into existing stores and implement the platform without disrupting the store design. That is not easy.”

However, that also means that Trigo’s ability to scale its technology is broader. “We are working with retailers that already have thousands of stores around the world,” says Gabay. “Amazon has to build every new location from scratch.”

Tesco, the world’s third-largest retailer, began testing the Trigo platform in 2018 at a small store on its main campus used primarily by company employees. (Before that, he ran smaller tests in Israel with the Shufersal chain.) The technology’s launch two weeks ago at High Holborn in central London was the company’s first live implementation. Then, two weeks later, Germany’s second-largest supermarket chain, the REWE Group, used Trigo to open a cashierless hybrid store in Cologne.

ALDI North, Europe’s largest grocery retailer and in the top 5 globally, with thousands of stores across Europe, also announced last month its first stand-alone store in Utrecht, the Netherlands, which will open early next year. .

With others also on board, Trigo now has contracts with five of the world’s top 10 grocery retailers and is receiving attention from chains around the world, Gabay says.

The market need for such a solution is huge, says Gabay. “Nobody likes to wait in line at the store. Ten minutes in line feels like an hour. This makes shopping easy.”

It also provides valuable business intelligence for retail managers. “The system allows you to understand everything that happens in the store, including inventory control, marketing, analytics and many other things. It provides real-time information so that retailers can understand what is happening with their stock in real time and what the products are popular or not, so they can optimize shelf space and profits. “

“We resolve the top three complaints buyers have,” says Gabay. “We eliminate waiting lines, help make sure the store has enough of the products they want, and help shoppers find products in the store with an in-app floor map.”

Trigo plans to expand into the US market next year and plans to work with other types of stores in the future, from department stores to electronics and toy stores. “Next year, we will be in dozens of stores, in two years, we will have hundreds of stores, and in five years, I hope we will be in thousands of stores. We already have contracts for hundreds of stores.”

Trigo is preparing for the challenge, with 150 employees and a total of $ 104 million raised from investors. “We have a lot of momentum,” says Gabay. “Now is our time.”

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