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Non-stop buying and no sellers.  The first automatic store opened in the Czech Republic

Non-stop buying and no sellers. The first automatic store opened in the Czech Republic

Retail chain Coop opened its first planned self-service store in the Czech Republic this week, on Podskalská Street in Strakonice. Customers can shop there 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To enter outside working hours, in the event that there are no employees already in the store, they need a special application with a link to the identity of the bank.

“We want these stores to be accessible to everyone. Of course, the store will still operate within standard business hours, but outside of this time it will operate in automatic mode”, confirms Lukáš Němčík Director of Development and Marketing of the Cooperation Network.

The Strakonice store underwent a complete rebuilding and the range had to be partially adapted to the new way of selling – within this, for example, the offer of fresh, refrigerated goods was enhanced. On the contrary, the counters of delicacies and sausages will be closed at night, which will be replaced by the display of packaged goods.

The Coop system in the Czech Republic was taken over from sister cooperatives in Scandinavia, where a similar type of store has been operating for many years. According to Němčík, customers change and therefore it is necessary to adapt to them.

“We believe that in small and medium-sized cities, the concept of automated stores has greater potential due to the changing structure of customers, most of whom need the most flexible services. On the edges, which are often only accessible by car,” Nemchik describes.

How to self-purchase in practice

To enter after the closing time, the customer needs a special application that generates a unique QR code each time he logs in through his bank ID, allowing him to enter the store.

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“Thanks to this system, each visitor to the store will be uniquely identified, so there is no problem, for example, if more than one customer buys at once.

The customer scans the merchandise, and payment for the purchase is made at the self-service checkout.

To prevent chain theft, the entire store area is supervised by a camera system connected to the central security office. According to the company, it can solve the problem even when the customer has a problem. In this case, he can also use the emergency button or call security remotely.

According to Coop, it is not yet clear how the Czech customer will accept the new sales system. Previously, the chain began serving refrigeration dispensers in smaller municipalities, and now it is also expanding the number of stores connected to the online store and food delivery testing.

Another store with automated sales will open in the coming months in Cesky Krumlov, in this case it will be a larger one.