“It is a store where we want to constantly provide expertise, technologies and product ranges,” the official said.
“We are the first European brand to open a store without boxes,” said the Director of Innovation and Digital Transformation, noting that only Amazon North America has a group of stores in the US and UK that operate in a similar concept.
Frederico Santos said the total investment, with labor, equipment and technology, “just over 1 million euros”.
The area of the store is 150 square meters, “20 kilometers of network cables” have been installed and equipped with “about 230 rooms in the ceiling and more than 400 sensors on the shelf”, which connect the products collected (and returned) from the shelves by each customer, And create virtual shopping carts, payment is automatically processed by the associated card.
To make purchases at this new store, it is necessary to download an app – Continente Labs – on a “smartphone” and have a debit or credit card and billing information to issue the electronic invoice.
“There is an application, which is Continente Labs, that supports the Continente card application, which is already owned by nearly a million and a half customers and that can be configured in one application or another” to make a payment, he explains.
After setting everything up, just open the Continente Labs app, which will display an icon (QR code). This code is read at the entrance, in the tourniquet area, which opens after reading it and the customer only has to store the cell phone and not worry about anything else, except for shopping.
When you start shopping with items removed from the shelves, the creation of the virtual shopping cart begins in real time, using AI technology from Sensei, a Portuguese startup and project partner.
Machine vision technology monitors the customer’s location throughout the store, without using facial recognition, as confirmed by Frederico Santos, who explained that the sensors can understand the item that has been removed from the shelf, whether it is returned or placed in a different area.
At the bottom of the store is a “strong” data center that continuously processes information, he said.
After making purchases, the customer simply leaves the store, without having to offer anything else, and “comes home”.
Meanwhile, Sensei sends a virtual shopping cart to Continente, which processes the invoices and issues the electronic invoice.
But what if there is a problem with the articles? No problem because the app has a feature that allows you to submit a complaint.
We keep engagement photos during our regular 15-day return period, because we’re obligated under the GDPR itself. [regulamento sobre proteção de dados]This stipulates the presence of a person to assess what happened in the event that the customer submits a complaint.
Operating, in the initial phase, between 12:00 and 21:00, six days a week, Continente Labs will have six people in store: someone needs to pick up the merchandise, put it on the shelves, replace “stock” and ensure hygiene and safety in the process. , Among other things.
For example, if a customer wants to buy alcohol, since the shelf is closed, he will have to use a store employee to access the product.
If a customer leaves an item on the wrong shelf, employees receive this indicator in the app.
Regarding the replication of the concept, the official said he had “no plans for this” at the moment.
He stressed that “I have no doubt that this is part of the future of the shopping experience, and I am very convinced of it,” and that “this solution is the basis of the experience on which the correct solutions will appear.”
With regard to data protection, “customer confidentiality is guaranteed”.
Sonae MC with Continente and Sensei, as a technology operator, has “very clear contracts between the two entities in which they clarify the way in which customer data is processed, and it has been a concern since the start of the project developing a solution to enhance customer privacy,” he said.
When the customer enters, a random number is generated, which we will mark as an example 425. Continente Sensei tells Customer 425 that they entered and this is the only information the technology company gets. When a customer checks out and leaves, Sensei tells the retailer that 425 has left and what their virtual cart (items he bought) is.
“This complete separation does not allow any of us to obtain information about the customer that we are not supposed to have, Sensei itself does not store any image of what the customer does in the store if he does not interact with the products, it stores pictures only when the customer interacts with the shelf,” confirmed Frederico Santos .
Continente Labs, whose project started two years ago and involved “nearly 100 people” by Sonae MC, opens its doors on Wednesday.
Located in the center of Lisbon, more specifically in Rua D. Filipa de Vilhena, as well as the Continente supermarket where customers can shop, it also intends to be a ‘live lab’ with ‘100% Portuguese technology’.
Its site collects several consumer profiles: from students (next to the Superior Technical Institute), to professionals, who work in the surrounding offices, as well as a diverse group of residents.
“This is the first version of the store,” he said, acknowledging that the payment option could be expanded in the future.
ALU // CSJ
Lusa / The End