Aldi Plans Cashierless Stores in the U.K.

The supermarket chain is in the early stages of developing the technology with collaborators.

August 07, 2020

LONDON—Aldi has begun to develop a cashierless store in the United Kingdom, putting a call out for automatic product recognition technologies, Charged Retail reports. While Aldi hasn’t confirmed it, the grocer appears to be working on its own answer to Amazon Go, which recently announced its entry into the U.K. market.

Aldi’s request specifically mentioned shopper apps and in-store cameras, shopping cart cameras or smartphone camera technology. “As smart as it is for Aldi to go after cashierless technology, Aldi really does not have any other option at this point,” Forbes reports. “Amazon could very well have Aldi’s entire U.S. business model or more within its sights, and the only real question that remains is whether or not Aldi’s effort may be too little, too late.”

With Amazon Go Grocery, grocery chains like Aldi could be in trouble as more customers embrace cashierless shopping. The sooner Aldi begins testing similar technology, the better.

“Amazon having 30 pilot stores is like giving Usain Bolt a massive head start in the 100-meter dash because Amazon’s system is already training itself to handle many different driving conditions. These conditions could include everything from localized SKUs, lighting variances, fixture positioning, or even the number of people and products in a store at any given time,” Forbes reports.

With Aldi’s U.S. footprint starting at 17,000 square feet, Amazon Go Grocery’s Seattle location at 10,000 square feet comes awfully close to Aldi’s size. Aldi’s also offers “no frills shopping—just get in quickly, efficiently and as cost effectively as possible from a consumer standpoint,” very similar to the Amazon Go model.

For more on the U.K. convenience channel, read “Local Is Focal Post COVID-19” in the August issue of NACS Magazine.