Italian chain Coop opened a highly technological supermarket in Milan, with augmented reality to inform shoppers about their shopping and eating behaviour. The goal: sustainable consumption.
Prototype becomes reality
The "supermarket of the future", presented by Coop in 2015 at the World Expo in Milan, is no longer merely a prototype. The formula has also been transformed to the real world: last week, in Milan's shopping center Bicocca Village, it opened a smart, interactive supermarket filled with digital technology to promote more awareness and more sustainability when it comes to consumption.
The 1,000 sqm store has some 6,000 products, partially presented on smart tables. When a consumer moves his hand to a product, a screen automatically displays additional information: where it comes from, its nutritional value, possible allergens, what to do with the waste and so on. Microsoft Kinect enables this particular information, because the technology can track the shoppers' movements.
There are also interactive, touch-screen "totems" in the store and a 20-meter long video wall with 54 screens. This has to present real-time information about the store's products, its promotions, sales statistics, recipes and social media interactions.
A more sustainable consumption pattern
The interactive supermarket was designed by professor Carlo Ratti of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). "Every item has its own store. In the future, we will be able to discover everything about the apple we are looking at: from which tree it came, the CO² it produced, the chemical treatment it was given and its journey to the supermarket".
Data will lead to a well-informed, more sustainable consumption pattern, he feels. A completely transparent supply chain will make shoppers more aware about our natural resources' limits, which could stimulate the purchase of local, fresh products.
Despite digital appliances' dominant position in the supermarket, it does not come across as a cold and rigid place: low furniture and warm materials (wood and ceramic tiles) were used in order to create an enjoyable and efficient shopping experience.