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Has Aldi found the solution to self-checkout's woes?

Aldi has partnered with Grabango to unleash new technology that could change the way people checkout at grocery stores.
Has Aldi found the solution to self-checkout's woes?
Posted at 12:11 PM, Apr 18, 2024

In recent months, numerous examples have emerged of retailers curtailing self-checkouts due to a rise in theft and errors. 

Perhaps grocery chain Aldi has found the solution.

This week, Aldi joined Grabango in launching ALDIgo checkout-free shopping at a suburban Chicago store. Grabango said its technology "uses computer vision to identify and keep track of every item in the store," which allows shoppers to leave without waiting in line or scanning items.

The technology was implemented in the Aurora, Illinois, Aldi store without any changes to the grocery's layout. 

The companies say customers fill their carts like normal, and when they are done, can use an app or a pay station as they exit. 

“The launch of ALDIgo is a pivotal moment for the grocery industry,” said Will Glaser, CEO of Grabango. “Although more challenging, it was important to us to launch this technology in a typical store and not one purpose-built for us. Aldi is one of the most innovative retailers in the world, and we are honored to partner with them to give their shoppers an exciting new way to shop the store.”

Aldi claims to be the first major grocery chain to implement the technology. The company said a traditional cashier will remain an option for customers not interested in using ALDIgo. 

“It’s exciting to see a checkout-free capability live in one of our stores, said Eric Traxler, vice president of IT at Aldi. “Aldi is continuously looking for new ways to be innovative and provide a best-in-class experience for our shoppers, and ALDIgo is a great example of that in action.”

Amazon has implemented a similar technology called Just Walk Out for smaller stores. The technology allows customers to buy smaller items, such as candy and soft drinks, without scanning. 

"Just Walk Out technology detects when a shopper’s hand interacts with a product on the shelf. When that happens, machine learning algorithms make sure the correct item is added to the shopper’s virtual cart — all without any specific knowledge about the person," Amazon said. 

SEE MORE: These 10 grocery stores top the list for value, consumers say

There has been growing debate on the value of self-checkouts. Earlier this year, a study in the Journal of Business Research by researchers from Drexel University and the University of San Diego indicated that self-checkouts can damage customer loyalty. 

The study found that as customers are forced to scan more items, their checkout experience becomes less rewarding. The researchers also said that customers experienced negative consequences with larger orders, such as the extra effort to bag purchases. 

The research comes as some stores have opted to roll back self-checkout over concerns of financial losses. In 2023, Costco began policing its self-checkout lanes to catch nonmembers shopping in the store. 

Last month, Target said customers will now be limited to 10 items for self-checkout. With fewer transactions being eligible for self-checkouts, Target says it will open more traditional checkout lanes. 

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