Colruyt Group tests autonomous city store in Ghent

Colruyt Group

As from tomorrow Colruyt Group is testing 'OKay Direct', an innovative automated store concept where customers can do their shopping 24/7 in the centre of Ghent.


Self-service around the clock

The new city shop is located in the Belfortstraat in Ghent and is fully committed to autonomy and self-service. "To be able to continue to serve our customers optimally in the future, we are continuously studying and developing innovative solutions that contribute to a simple, fast and easy shopping experience for the customers" says Gert Somers, responsible for the city store formats at OKay.


As from tomorrow 9 November customers can visit the OKay Direct around the clock and seven days a week. To gain access to the shop, the customer has to scan the QR code of his Xtra-app or card. The technology behind the concept automatically registers which products the customer takes from the shelves. By re-scanning the QR code at the checkout, the final bill is created and the customer can pay electronically before leaving the shop.


Extensive testing

The first OKay Direct is 150 m² and sells 650 sku’s of both A-brands and private labels. The assortment consists mainly of fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, fish, bread and ready meals. Customers will also find some "essential" products such as toilet paper and toothpaste.


"With this innovative pilot project, we will evaluate the feasibility, popularity and success of such a shop format in an urban environment. We believe that interest in such concepts is growing and that it meets the evolving needs of customers. We will test the concept extensively before rolling it out to other major cities," concludes Somers.


The technology for the autonomous shop was developed in-house by Smart Technics, an innovative start-up within Colruyt Group.