As Italy’s largest retail chain, Coop knows a thing or two about how people shop for food. Earlier this year the supermarket unveiled its vision for the future: a hi-tech market where sensors, robots, interactive screens and apps guide customers to their ideal products.
Coop’s ‘Supermarket of the Future’ exhibition launched at NRF, the world’s largest retail show, in January 2016. Created by Italian architect and MIT professor Carlo Ratti, the exhibition was inspiring, beautiful, and a key talking point for the thousands of industry experts who attended the show.
Now Ratti’s vision has become reality. The first Coop ‘Supermarket of the Future’ has opened in the new Bicocca Village shopping center in Milan, Italy. Powered by Microsoft Kinect and Azure, the supermarket provides a seamless shopping experience for those looking to experience a slice of the future – and for those just doing their weekly shop.
Customers at Coop Bicocca can get instant access to information on more than 6,000 products, including calories and product origin, via interactive digital screens on the shop floor. So if you’re wondering where the olive oil is from, just point your finger at the bottle on the shelf and start reading. Allergic to nuts? Mention this and screens will show you which products you can safely it. With all this information at their fingertips, shoppers can find and choose the right products for them.
As well as benefitting the general public, the Supermarket of the Future will transform the Coop’s purchasing decisions. For example, by analysing data on how often customers pick up and then put back different brands of apples, the Coop can alter its orders to ensure the most popular apples are always in stock.
Unlike some retailers, Coop is optimistic about the future of the physical supermarket.
“Supermarkets will still physically exist in 2050,” said Gabriele Tubertini, CIO of Coop Italia. “But they will be transformed into places where people will go not only to shop, but also to meet other people and find relevant information about the high-quality products they’re looking for.”
See Coop’s Supermarket of the Future for yourself in our report here.