Digitization for advanced users: stationary shopping without paying. Really now?
We tested REWE Group’s new stationary shopping experience “Pick&Go” for you. As a Cologne-based communications agency, we are on the trail of current trends and also ahead of them – always with the goal of developing the best ideas and concepts for strong brands for you – communication for a networked world, in other words.
What exactly a networked world is, and how REWE Group has succeeded in linking the stationary and digital worlds, you can find out here. Under the heading of “customer experience”, “omnichannel” – marrying online and offline – is the magic word.
About REWE Group’s “Pick&Go” concept
We already know about paying at self-scanning machines. And during the pandemic, we also learned that contactless payment at the checkout can be helpful. But what if you could leave the supermarket without having to take your wallet or smartphone & Co. out of your pocket?
This concept was developed by REWE with an international technology partner and is now being tested in a pilot project. Europe’s first hybrid supermarket with cashierless payment options opened last month in downtown Cologne. “Pick&Go” is the name of the concept: sign in – shop – go out.
Let’s store – was also the name of the game for us when we did the test shopping for you. After downloading the app and creating the customer account, we were able to enter the store through a separate entrance by QR code scan. Now our movements were analyzed and recorded with cameras and sensors in the shelves. According to the group, the technology detects which products are added to the shopping basket and which are put back. We tested this with a total of seven different products and ultimately decided on three. So far, all very simple, like a normal shopping trip to the supermarket.
And now? Just leave the store? That actually felt a little strange – after all, we’ve been used to paying artfully at the checkout since we were kids. Luckily, a digital screen at the supermarket exit confirmed to us “Really, you can just walk out.” It was a complete change of mindset, because you pay by credit card via the app. One enters the data required for this once in one’s customer account.
And? Fascinating purchase or gimmick with a short half-life?
We are excited about the innovation. REWE has succeeded in making history with its new “Pick&Go” shopping concept. An impressive implementation example in the “Digitalization at the Point of Sale” section. It’s fascinating how technology – in this case, sensor technology, smartphone, app – and the local, brick-and-mortar shopping experience intertwine. Has REWE reinvented the German supermarket? We are curious to see whether the pilot concept can be successful in the long run.
But we still had a few questions in the end: What actually happens when the technology has not registered all the products that we have put back on the shelf? And when will I find out how much I have to pay? What if my bill is wrong? We were not shown what groceries we ended up paying for and the amount of the purchase when we left the supermarket. According to REWE, we receive the receipt in the app after shopping. In our case, this did not work directly, but only much later. But that will certainly change, we suspect. After all, we are dealing with a pilot project – learning by doing!
In any case, for us it is clear: “Log in – shop – go out” means rethinking.
“Pick&Go” is super practical, simple and allows almost contactless shopping in the supermarket – especially in the pandemic an absolute plus. But we also have to admit that routine queuing and paying at the checkout have always completed the shopping process all round. Simply leaving the retail store will probably feel strange for some time to come.