Giant brings just-walk-out tech to Philly
The Giant Co. has added frictionless store technology — which enables individuals to shop a small format store in seconds by scanning in, shopping and walking out — at its new e-commerce fulfillment center in Philadelphia as an innovative option for its more than 125 team members at the site to seamlessly shop fresh, healthy items in the workplace.
“This innovative technology was created to meet the needs of connected customers — or busy associates — whose lives are in constant motion,” said Rom Kosla, executive vice president of IT and CIO for Retail Business Services, the services company of Ahold Delhaize USA. “Once an individual downloads the app, they can simply scan in, shop and walk out. It’s that easy. Shoppers can grab a snack, a salad, fresh fruit or even a carton of milk as they head home. It’s a particularly relevant capability for a location like this, where team members would otherwise need to travel off site to purchase food products.”
Retail Business Services partnered with UST, a leading digital transformation solutions company, to develop the store technology in 2019. Retail Business Services led application development, technology connectivity and provided food retail operations expertise, and UST and its partners provided the artificial intelligence technology solution and physical infrastructure for the store.
Available for implementation in any space in a matter of weeks, the walk-in, walk-out solution can be purchased through UST. The store takes the place of vending machines or a full-service cafeteria.
“Following the successful implementation of this frictionless technology at our perishable distribution center in Carlisle, PA, we’re excited to offer it to our team members at our Giant Direct e-commerce fulfillment center in Philadelphia,” said Glennis Harris, senior vice president of customer experience, The Giant Co. “We know our team members will appreciate the broad assortment of snacks, meals, beverages and more, conveniently available day or night, without ever having to leave the building.”
At this location, The Giant Co. team members working in the facility have exclusive access to the store. It is not open to the public.
The application technology, created in Retail Business Services’ innovation lab and tech hub, is powered by a Retail Business Services’ proprietary app, which admits shoppers to the store and charges shoppers for purchases through their digital wallet. Inside the store, AI detects which products are being removed from shelves in the store and anonymous body skeletal tracking connects the right products to the right shopper.
“In the age of e-commerce, there are many opportunities for companies to evolve and better serve shoppers,” said Mahesh Athalye, senior director of retail platform and solutions, UST. “Combined with AI/ML technology and purpose-built smartphone applications, solutions like this will help deliver frictionless experiences for shoppers seeking a quick, touchless experience.”