Aldi’s new Concept: Will Smartphone Be Mandatory for Shopping?

Cashierless discounters: Aldi Nord will soon be opening a new store concept that does away with cashiers altogether. The aim is to make shopping easier with AI-supported infrastructure.

First Aldi to open without a Checkout – Using AI and Smart Solutions

Essen – As the discounter giant explained in a press release at the beginning of October, the opening of the first cashierless Aldi store is planned for early 2022. The stated aim of the innovation: processes are to become faster – and the queues that are so annoying for customers are to be completely eliminated.


Aldi wants to achieve optimized processes using artificial intelligence (AI) and smart solutions. The specific plan is for customers to check in and out using the QR code of a corresponding app. When they leave the store, they will then be able to make completely contactless and automatic payments via the customer app.

The app will also allow customers to request refunds, manage their shopping histories or provide feedback. “Digitalization must support our core strategy and make shopping even easier for our customers,” explains Kashif Ansari, Chief Strategy Officer at ALDI Einkauf SE & Co. oHG.

All other processes in the test store would be handled by sensors in the shelves as well as by the camera technology used in the store, Aldi explains. The cameras would record shopping movements in the store and assign them to the right customer. For data protection reasons, facial data would be filtered out directly and not processed.

Aldi without a Checkout – First Test in the Netherlands

The test will initially start in the Netherlands – in a store in Utrecht. Aldi is working together with the technology company Trigo, which develops AI-supported infrastructure for retail stores.

Initially, the test will run for twelve months. The test will be whether the automatic payment process simplifies processes. Specifically, the focus will be on “future uses of the technology.”

Although the AI will take over the checkout processes, Aldi is apparently not planning to replace employees entirely. On the contrary, the company explains: At the new store in Utrecht, “more employees than usual would be deployed.” After all, many new processes would have to be introduced. However, the company does not say whether retail sales staff will be deployed – or technical experts.

Aldi Test: Shopping is also becoming more Digital in Germany

The extent to which the use of artificial intelligence will become established in the long term remains to be seen. The fact is that apps are becoming more and more common at checkout counters in Germany.