Ahold Pilots Lunchbox Cashier-Free Concept

The format lets customers scan in and buy items without checking out.

November 27, 2019

QUINCY, Mass.—Ahold has entered the cashierless store game with its pilot of Lunchbox, a store that lets customers scan in and purchase products without checking out at a terminal, Chain Store Age reports.

The new frictionless store is undergoing testing by the supermarket’s Retail Business Services department, which developed a proprietary app that allows shoppers to enter and buy items via Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal and Venmo.

The store uses AI technology and scanners to detect which products are removed from shelves and connects those items through an anonymous body skeletal tracking system to the correct customer. Retail Business Services has been running tests for the past six weeks. 

“Lunchbox is an easy, fresh shopping alternative,” said Paul Scorza, executive vice president of IT and CIO 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.”

Ahold Delhaize also opened a 150-square-foot cashier-free store outside its office in the Netherlands. To enter that store, customers scan their credit card before entering, then allow a sensor to record their items before leaving. 

The chain is also dabbling in autonomous robots in its grocery stores, such as its Marty robots in Giant and Stop & Shop locations. Nearly 500 Martys roam the aisles cleaning up spills and checking inventory.

Ahold isn’t the first to delve into cashierless and cashless stores. Some state lawmakers have raised concerns about cashless stores, with some cities passing bans on such retail environments.