Aldi Is Getting Rid of Scanners, Cashiers, and Checkout Lines with the Help of AI

Is this the future of food retail?

Aldi customers famously employ the ultra-low-tech system of using a quarter to unlock one of the German supermarket chain’s shopping carts before bagging their own groceries on the way out of the store.

But one Aldi location in the Chicago suburb of Aurora is offering a new high-tech, checkout-free shopping experience with the launch of ALDIgo.

<p>M. Suhail / Getty Images</p>

M. Suhail / Getty Images

ALDIgo, a cutting-edge innovation from the chain in collaboration with Grabango, is now operational at the Aldi outlet on 2275 West Galena Boulevard in Aurora, Illinois. This system, as reported by Payments Dive, allows customers to shop as they normally would. Equipped with advanced computer vision cameras and ceiling-mounted scanners, ALDIgo keeps a meticulous record of all items added to the cart.

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There are no checkout lines, cashiers, or scanners. Instead, customers can simply use their credit or debit card, or for a more streamlined experience, download the Grabango app in advance to pay via a QR code. The app supports various payment methods, including Apple Pay, and a Google Pay option may soon be available.

And yes, shoppers still have to bag their own groceries. Grabango can’t do everything.

“The launch of ALDIgo is a pivotal moment for the grocery industry,”  Will Glaser, Grabango founder and CEO, said in a statement. “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.”

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For those familiar with Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology, ALDIgo might ring a bell. The Seattle-based retail giant recently announced a shift from Just Walk Out to smart shopping carts in its Amazon Fresh grocery stores. However, according to the Associated Press, it will still be available at Amazon Go convenience stores and select UK-based Amazon Fresh stores.

<p>Marco Rosario Venturini Autieri / Getty Images</p> There are no checkout lines, cashiers, or scanners at the Aurora location.

Marco Rosario Venturini Autieri / Getty Images

There are no checkout lines, cashiers, or scanners at the Aurora location.

In a blog post, Amazon wrote that customers appreciated having Just Walk Out as an option when they were on a “‘mission-driven’ shopping trip, making quick purchases of relatively few items.”

But for bigger supermarket outings — the kind you make a list for — the company said that shoppers have preferred using the “Dash Cart” which still tracks all of their purchases, but also has an on-cart screen that displays the running cost of everything they’ve put in the cart. 

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“Customers want to manage their budget during their shopping journeys, in real-time, including the ability to weigh produce and understand cost, before they check out,” Amazon wrote. “That’s where Dash Cart comes in. When it comes to groceries, shoppers tend to need a lot of them (and a cart to put them in), while also minding the family budget.”

To check out, customers push the cart through a special Dash Cart lane, and a receipt is emailed to them. Amazon’s Dash Carts are currently being rolled out to Amazon Fresh stores and some Whole Foods Markets.

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Back at Aldi, both an Aldi spokesperson and Glaser declined to tell USA Today whether the ALDIgo platform would be expanding to additional locations. But regardless of what happens, we’ll still need to keep that quarter ready for those shopping carts.

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