Retailer Valora opened a registerless convenience store in Zurich last Friday. Store access and payment are both handled by an app.
The Swiss company's new concept is called the ‘avec-box'. The store offers a carefully selected assortment of about a thousand references. Most if it is fresh food for on the go and everyday items such as coffee and basic household products.
You have to register in advance with the avec app to enter the store. Access is granted by scanning a QR code at the entrance. Payment is also done through the app.
The store is open for 20 hours per day on week days and non-stop during weekends. During peak hours staff members are present to assist customers, replenish the shelves and maintain the store. Valora is using the concept to meet its customers' demand for more autonomy and flexibility while shopping. The avec-box is temporarily located in Zurich's central railway station until April 22nd. Afterwards, it will move to its permanent home in Wetzikon. Valora intends to introduce the same concept in other parts of the country afterwards.
Valora group owns k kiosk, Press & Books, Caffè Spettacolo and Brezelkönig. The company employs about 15,000 people and generated a turnover growth of 6 percent last year, reaching 2.1 billion Swiss franks (1.86 billion euros). Net profits ended at 59 million Swiss franks (52.4 million euros).
Robotised stores have become a trend in retail. Auchan is currently testing an automated sales point in Villeneuve d'Ascq, France. For now, the container store is only accessible for employees. The concept itself was developed in China.
Carrefour has also shown interest in the idea of robotised stores. The retailer will soon be opening one for its employees at the French headquarters in Massy. The company is also planning an unmanned neighbourhood supermarket in the centre of Brussels. The store will be 60 sqm in size and offer a range of about 400 products.