One of my favorite things to do when traveling abroad is stop at the local grocery store for a quick browse. Usually it’s a quaint reproduction of the mega markets I’m used to back home, with funky products and even funkier labels that seem quite strange to the passing foreigner.
But the METRO group in Germany are going for a different feel with their Future Store market, where shoppers are greeted by a rolling robot and mobile phones are used to make purchases. The BBC’s Steve Rosenberg recently stopped in the Future Store and brought back this video of his experience.
The Future Store, with its “intelligent” meat freezer and automatic wine-tasting machine (which limits you to 6 small samples, naturally) all seems a bit convoluted and dated, like someone designed it based on what they thought the year 2000 would be like back in 1984.
For example, customers must have software installed on their cell phone in order to scan a product they wish to purchase. The phone stores all the scans, then displays a final barcode when the shopping is done. That barcode is then fed into an ATM-like machine that’s used to pay. Wouldn’t it make more sense to have an “intelligent” shopping cart that either scans the items automatically, or has a manual scanner built in? The use of a cell phone here seems redundant, and adds an extra layer of special technology that limits who can shop at the store.
The most advanced grocery store on the planet (according to the Germans, at least) is located in Rheinberg, Germany if you’re up for a visit.