Company

14 December 2022

First fully autonomous REWE Pick&Go store opens in Munich

Fast shopping and checkout-free payment now also possible in the Bavarian capital
Reading time: 7 min.
  • Thanks to Pick&Go, customers simply sign in, shop and then leave the store

  • First fully autonomous REWE store opens in Munich after intensive trial period

  • Bavarian State Minister Hubert Aiwanger is the first customer of REWE Pick&Go Munich

After two tests with ‘hybrid’ city shops in Cologne and Berlin, REWE Pick&Go has reached the next milestone and opened the first fully autonomous REWE store in Munich’s city centre. At the store at Karlstrasse 36, courtesy of Pick&Go, customers can shop quickly, securely, and conveniently without needing to check out. Despite the high-tech process, the store does not require less personnel. Bavarian State Minister Hubert Aiwanger attended the opening of the new REWE Pick&Go store and was impressed by the digital shopping experience of the future from REWE.

Customers simply sign in, shop, and then leave or, to put it another way, Pick&Go:  With REWE Pick&Go, purchases are captured securely using state-of-the-art camera and sensor technology. Once customers leave the store, they are billed automatically without stopping to check out. The automatic checkout has already been successfully integrated in the two hybrid test shops in Cologne and Berlin as an alternative option to the conventional checkout. REWE Pick&Go has now reached the next milestone with the opening of a fully autonomous REWE store in Munich’s Maxvorstadt. Shoppers can thus do a big family shop, grab a fresh snack, or stock up on sundries quickly, conveniently, and securely with no queuing at the checkout.

State Minister Aiwanger becomes first customer of Pick&Go Munich

The first customer of Pick&Go Munich was Bavarian Deputy Minister President of Bavaria and the Bavarian Minister of Economic Affairs, Hubert Aiwanger, who tested the automatic checkout during the official opening at Karlstrasse 36 on 14 December 2022: “I am delighted that REWE has chosen Bavaria as the location for its first fully autonomous REWE Pick&Go store. The innovative concept clearly shows how digitalisation can improve the lives of customers. It’s a new, convenient shopping experience. If this technology takes off in retail, checkout queues could soon be a thing of the past!”

The store of the future in Munich

With the opening of its fully autonomous store in Munich, REWE is making its vision of retail for the future a reality. REWE COO Peter Maly: With the first fully autonomous REWE store, the future project REWE Pick&Go is entering an important, second test phase. Over the coming weeks, we will be closely analysing the acceptance of checkout-free shopping here in Munich. We are optimistic. The two hybrid test stores have shown that, for many customers, autonomous shopping with REWE Pick&Go offers a convenient, exciting, and time-saving alternative to conventional shopping.

Autonomous store needs just as many staff

As with any other store, there will be staff on hand to assist with individual questions and provide advice because, despite the automatic checkout, the first autonomous REWE Pick&Go store has just as many employees as a conventional REWE store. Store Manager Sarah Popovic, who manages the REWE Pick&Go store in Munich jointly with Sinthayhu Tadesse, explains: We have a team of 11 at the store. A big part of their time is spent on stock replenishment, for example, as this requires more effort than a conventional store due to the high-tech Pick&Go system. Specially trained store staff are also available to answer technical questions about the automated process from customers.

Large range of products for a complete shopping experience

Over the 289 m2 retail space of the Pick&Go store in Munich’s Maxvorstadt, there are around 4,000 different items to choose from, including fresh baked goods, fruit and vegetables, a comprehensive dry goods range, frozen products, beverages, and household goods. Regional products from Bavaria are also an integral part of the range. As in the two hybrid REWE Pick&Go stores, the new Munich store also includes a fruit and vegetable weighing scale and, as in the Cologne store, a reverse vending machine, where customers can return their empties and receive a cash payment in return. Like the other stores, Munich customers can also pay for their Pick&Go purchases using PayPal, Google Pay, Apple Pay, or credit card.

Secure shopping with data protection compliance

Data protection continues to be at the heart of the development and operation of the system. Data minimisation principles are followed when processing the customer images captured by the system. They are used exclusively to enable checkout-free shopping in the store. The system only records data identifying items removed or placed back on the shelf, and does not use facial recognition technology or “remember” customers on subsequent visits to the store. The REWE Pick&Go stores in Cologne, Berlin, and Munich are among the first supermarkets in Europe to enable checkout-free shopping in real life.

A new REWE Pick&Go store is also set for opening at the start of next year. The final preparations are currently under way for another store with a hybrid shopping concept in Cologne. With this store, customers will once again be able to choose between paying at the staffed checkout or self-checkout as usual or using REWE Pick&Go.

International technology partnership

In this project, REWE is working alongside Trigo Vision Ltd, a company specialising in computer-aided vision technology. Trigo’s solution generates a 3D model of a supermarket that digitally models the environment and movements, allowing customers to choose items and leave the store with them while still protecting their privacy.

Background: how checkout-free shopping works with REWE Pick&Go

To make purchases without checking out, customers first have to install REWE’s Pick&Go app to sign in at the entrance. They can now take everything they need from the shelves, pack the items away and simply walk out of the store when they’ve finished shopping. The Pick&Go app automatically displays the bill straight away. If there are any discrepancies, it is just as easy for customers to report the issue via the app within 24 hours of their purchase.

Integral to the REWE Pick&Go system are smart cameras and weight sensors on the shelves as well as other high-tech components, such as servers, switches and high-speed network cables. The system records each user as a sequential number and creates an exoskeleton image of them. No biometric data is stored. When customers take something from the shelf, their arm movements are detected and evaluated. Whether they are picking up bananas or putting a yoghurt back on the shelf, the system knows what they are doing, and therefore registers the exact quantity of products removed from the shelves.

Pick&Go can also be used for group shops. Families, friends or colleagues can pack items together in a relaxed manner and pay on one bill at the automatic checkout.

About REWE

With sales of 30.6 billion euros (2023), more than 170.000 employees and over 3,800 REWE stores, REWE Markt GmbH is one of Germany’s leading food retail companies. REWE stores are run as subsidiaries or by independent REWE retailers.

The cooperatively organised REWE Group is one of the leading trade and tourism groups in Germany and Europe. In 2023, the company generated a total external turnover of around 92billion euros. Founded in 1927, the REWE Group has around 390,000 employees and operates in 21 European countries.

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Contact
Raimund Esser
Head of Corporate Communications at
REWE Markt