Many shoppers patronized "pop-up" shops in locations like malls as they picked up holiday gifts last month. Now, one retailer has taken the concept to a whole new level by developing an entire physical store that can literally be picked up and dropped wherever it's needed.
European food retailer Albert Heijn, a unit of the grocery giant Ahold Delhaize, moved a "small-footprint, portable digital store" from its company headquarters in Zaandam, the Netherlands, to a site at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport in September. Transported on a trailer truck, the shop now sits on the Jan Dellaert Square in front of Schiphol Plaza, where it will be open to travelers at the world's fourth-busiest airport through the end of January.
The cashierless store uses the Santa Clara, California-based technology firm AiFi's "NanoStore" design to offer shoppers checkout-free shopping. Visitors tap their contactless debit card, Apple Pay, or Samsung Pay app to open the shop's door, then just pick up the items they want and walk out. The smart store automatically registers the purchase and arranges for payment.
"The airport is a perfect place for autonomous stores. Travelers are very aware of their time and need food and drinks at a variety of hours," Steve Gu, CEO and co-founder of AiFi, said in a release. "This speaks to the original design thinking behind NanoStore: to make a plug-and-play modular store so it can be easily placed and moved where people need it the most."