Aldi and Grabango announce AI-powered checkout-free tech – Supermarket News

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German discount grocer Aldi, and its partner Grabango, have publicly announced the launch of Aldigo, a pilot program at one of their Chicago-area stores that features checkout-free technology.

The announcement comes about two weeks after Amazon announced that it was removing its own cashierless “Just Walk Out” technology.

While Amazon said it is instead focusing on its AI-powered shopping carts, known as Dash Carts, the retail giant added that it will continue to offer Just Walk Out at Amazon Go stores, smaller format Amazon Fresh stores located in the U.K., and third-party retailers. 

Supermarket News reported on the new tech in early February, but neither the grocer nor the cashier-free tech company were ready to discuss the new partnership.  

The two have been testing the new technology since late 2023. 

It allows shoppers to download the Grabango app, place items in their baskets, and then scan a QR code in the app at the end of the trip and have the bill charged to an online account. 

Cameras placed throughout the store use computer vision and artificial intelligence to track which items are taken by the shopper. 

On Tuesday, Grabango announced that the Aldi partnership is the first full-sized grocer to implement the checkout-free technology. Similar technology, particularly Amazon’s “Just Walk Out” technology, has typically appeared in small-format stores.

Neither company could immediately be reached for comment.

“It’s exciting to see a checkout-free capability live in one of our stores,” said Eric Traxler, vice president of IT at Aldi, in a statement. “Aldi is continuously looking for new ways to be innovative and provide a best-in-class experience for our shoppers, and Aldigo is a great example of that in action.”

Granango CEO Will Glaser called the launch of the Aldigo program “a pivotal moment for the grocery industry” 

“Although more challenging, it was important to us to launch this technology in a typical store and not one purpose-built for us,” he said. 

The company noted that neither the store’s planogram nor its product displays were changed to accommodate the tech. The test store is located at 2275 West Galena Blvd., Aurora, Ill. 

A visit to the store in February revealed that the technology is practically unnoticeable.

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