The launch of the first Amazon Go outlets caused much commotion in the retail world, while simultaneously building huge expectations. But since then, all has gone very quiet around the cash-less convenience stores.
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The 'gilets jaunes' and trade unionists have protested at the very first unmanned opening of a Casino Géant hypermarket in France. The hypermarket in Angers is usually staffed, but trials an 'autonomous' Sunday afternoon opening.
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British supermarket giant Tesco will venture into premium convenience stores, robots and plant-based food. These are just some of the priorities for future growth, according to the retailer.
Carrefour has opened its own version of Amazon Go in its head office in Massy (near Paris), where the chain is trying out facial recognition and registerless shopping.
Walmart is trying out a new Scan & Go system, called Fast Lane, in in Toronto. It is an improved version of an earlier, and failed, attempt in the United States.
French sports retailer Decathlon is introducing registerless shopping in its Dutch stores, through a mobile scanning app that allows customers to scan and pay for their items while shopping, eliminating the need for checkout queues.
Amazon has opened an Amazon Go store in New York. Remarkably, it is the first of these cashless neighbourhood stores... where you can pay cash.
Amazon Go, Amazon's registerless stores, will be accepting cash in some form after all. The elitist flair of the shops has been heavily criticised and various cities and states in the US actually forbid cash-free stores.
Retailer Valora opened a registerless convenience store in Zurich last Friday. Store access and payment are both handled by an app.
Delhaize Fresh Atelier, the newest convenience store concept by Delhaize, will allow customers to scan their purchases and pay with their phones without passing by a register. The option is already available in the store in Galerij Ravenstein in Brussels.
The rise of cash-free stores is being opposed politically: certain American governments want to make it illegal to refuse cash, since not all customers can afford a credit card. What is the situation in the Benelux?
In March, French chain Auchan will open its first 'Minute' store in Europe, in the French municipality of Villeneuve d'Ascq (close to the Belgian border). These compact "container stores" have no registers or staff: shopping is entirely done through smartphone.
Europe's biggest electronics retailer MediaMarktSaturn has installed a self-checkout in its flagship store in Hamburg. Customers can now shop without passing by a cash register, if they so choose.
French distributor Carrefour will be testing its own registerless store concept next year. Just like pioneer Amazon Go, Carrefour will rely on cameras and facial recognition to achieve a fully automated checkout system.
French supermarket chain Casino follows the trend and opens a shop without check-out near the Champs Elysées. In this way it becomes a French variant of the concept of Amazon Go in the United States.
Dutch Albert Heijn has opened its first real convenience stores that use the "tap to go" system to ensure cashier free shopping, with a third one coming next week. Suddenly the company almost equals Amazon's current total of four checkout-free supermarkets; goal is to install the system in all eighty 'AH to go' stores.