The technology behind Colruyt Group‘s autonomous shops is also becoming available to other retailers. The Belgian retailer is launching a new smart fridge, in co-creation with Dutch specialist Innovend.
Colruyt Group’s in-house innovation team, Smart Technics, has been developing technology for unmanned 24/7 sales concepts for some time. In two Belgian locations, the retailer already opened autonomous shops under the Okay Direct banner, while it developed the unmanned catering concept “Spar for You” with smart refrigerators and pantries for Spar. Moreover, its own fitness chain Jims also started featuring such smart vending machines.
Now Colruyt Group is entering into a strategic partnership with Innovend, a Dutch provider of unmanned vending concepts, aiming to sell the technology behind these concepts to fellow retailers. Both parties will develop new products and services in co-creation, both B2B and B2C, from small vending machines to larger shops.
They will present the first result of that cooperation at retail trade fair EuroShop in Düsseldorf next week: a sleek smart fridge that is easy to fit into a variety of locations and is also suitable for applications outside the food sector. Colruyt and Innovend will also work out new “Spar For You” catering solutions together.