Last week, Spar opened the first cashless grocery store in the Netherlands at the Hogeschool/Utrecht University campus through its Spar University brand. Here, customers can use the Spar University mobile app to scan items with their smartphones and then checkout without standing in line using an in-app “skipping” feature. ABN AMRO’s Tikkie payment solution is incorporated in the app to carry out payments.
Spar University stores, like the one at Hogeschool/Utrecht University, began in 2013 and are entirely self-checkout. The company will fully roll out the cashless payment system by the end of 2018 in all nine of its present university locations.
Countr, along with Social Brother, an IT agency, and Mood Media, who handled the audio and visual user experience of the app, came together with ABN AMRO to develop the app. Countr provided point-of-sale software.
The impetus for the move was to make customers, “even happier”, according to Kyra van Elswijk, Spar’s smart clients manager. She goes on to mention that because they no longer have to wait for checkout, they can spend more time enjoying their lunch break, and that trust of the customer lies at the heart of the concept.
The organisation also mentions that through the app they can collect customer data and therefore tailor deals to fit buying behaviour, and even provide customers with “more information on what [they] are looking for”.
In recent months, Amazon launched its own cashless store, Amazon Go, in Seattle. Their approach involves customers scanning their phones as they enter the store. The Amazon app keeps track of items they take off or put back on the shelf, putting them in or subtracting them from a virtual shopping cart in the app, and then charging customers when they walk out. One customer reported that the concept makes them feel like they are stealing when they walk out of the door without going through the traditional checkout process.
By Elliot Lyons, Research Analyst