Ahold Delhaize USA amps up convenience through frictionless shopping
In the all-important intangible store brand department, Retail Business Services LLC, the services company of Ahold Delhaize USA, is aiming to take convenience to a higher level with a new frictionless store technology piloted under the name Lunchbox and powered by a proprietary mobile app, which permits consumers to quickly shop a small-format store and just walk out, no need to visit the cashier.
The technology is now being tested in Retail Business Services’ Quincy, Mass., office.
For the project, the company teamed up with digital transformation solutions provider UST Global. Retail Business Services provided application development, technology connectivity and food retail operations expertise, while UST Global and its partners offered the artificial intelligence (AI) technology solution and physical infrastructure for the store. The technology will be on display at the National Retail Federation (NRF) Big Show this January, in collaboration with UST Global and Intel.
"Lunchbox is an easy, fresh shopping alternative,” said Paul Scorza, executive vice president of IT and the chief information officer for Retail Business Services. “Once registered, shoppers simply scan in, shop and walk out. It’s that easy. And it offers fresh, healthy options 24/7. You can grab a snack, a salad, fresh fruit or even a carton of milk on your way home.”
According to Retail Business Services, Lunchbox is more efficient than other frictionless store concepts, as it carries a lean cost and can be implemented in just weeks.
“We believed in this concept so much we brought it to our own office,” continued Scorza. “Our cafeteria that serves more than 1,000 associates was being remodeled, and we were looking for a quick, cost-effective solution to give associates access to beverages, snacks and fresh items at a variety of hours. We implemented this solution in just six weeks. Today, thousands of shops, with groups of up to 12 in the store at the same time, have been successfully completed.”
The application technology for Lunchbox, developed in Retail Business Services’ innovation lab and tech hub, is powered by the company’s proprietary app, which lets shoppers into the store and charges them for purchases. To make payment easy, services such as PayPal, Venmo, Apply Pay and Google Pay are integrated into the wallet.
Retail Business Services provides services, including private brands, to six East Coast grocery brands: Food Lion, Giant Food, Giant/Martin’s, Hannaford, and Stop & Shop, and online grocer Peapod.
Goldschmidt is managing editor of Progressive Grocer, Store Brands' sister publication.