SPAR Switzerland opens first unattended SPAR Express store in Zurich

March 6, 2023 IN THE CATEGORY: Digital and Marketing, Store openings

On 20 February 2023, SPAR Switzerland and AVIA opened the first 24/7 SPAR Express forecourt store operating without onsite personnel at Zurich’s Sihlqui bus terminal. In addition to refuelling 24/7, customers can now also stock up on groceries, fresh snacks, and coffee at the same time.

Product offer

Within three weeks, the store at Ausstellungsstrasse 10 in Zurich was converted into the first SPAR Express forecourt store operating without onsite personnel. The 50m2 store offers about 1,000 products for everyday shopping including bread and bakery products, fruit and vegetables, dairy products, meat, drinks, basic food items, hygiene articles, and car accessories.

Smart unattended shopping experience

Access to the new 24/7 SPAR Express is made simple through innovative FAST aXs technology which allows customers to enter the store by scanning a QR code at the entrance with their smartphone and accepting the terms and conditions. Customers do not need to download an app or register and the door can be opened by smartphone. The items are also scanned with the smartphone and payment is made by Twint, credit or debit card, or with Apple Pay or Google Pay.

The store is equipped with cameras and sensors. If customers have questions or face any challenges in the shopping process, information is provided online instantly and additional support is offered. Sales in the SPAR Express are monitored via an app which ensures that the store is always replenished with fresh food. Customers purchasing fuel can pay at the AVIA petrol station with a fuel card, debit or credit card or cash.

For customers who are not familiar with QR code scanning, students were present instore to help in the first few days following the opening.

Rollout of additional 24/7 shops

SPAR Switzerland and AVIA intend to open additional unattended 24/7 SPAR Express forecourt stores.

Installing unattended ‘SPAR Go24’ retail units outside urban centres, for example in neighbourhoods without nearby shopping facilities is also part of SPAR Switzerland’s growth strategy. Initially, units will be tested in the villages of Rueras and Surava in the Canton of Graubünden and at SPAR Switzerland’s central office in St. Gallen. “These small retail units are primarily intended to complement the existing SPAR stores in order to offer customers 27/4 shopping. This means that those working early or late shifts can enjoy a fresh coffee with croissants or a light meal”, said André Scherrer, SPAR Switzerland’s Sales Director.

Tom Rose, Head of Operations at SPAR International, added: “SPAR is always on the lookout for opportunities to enhance our customers shopping experience in line with our goal of providing customers with fresh products, high quality, and convenience.  It is great to see the launch of this solution in Switzerland, using the latest state-of-the-art technology to bring a frictionless retail offering to shoppers 24/7.”

Technology showcased at EuroShop

Visitors of EuroShop, the World´s No. 1 Retail Trade Fair for store design, shop fitting, and retail operations, which was held in Düsseldorf from 26 February to 2 March 2023, were able to test the innovative technology at the FAST aXS stand. Delegates from SPAR Partners around the world participated in SPAR International’s Store Development Seminar organised to coincide with EuroShop. The programme focused on store design trends, international best practice, energy-saving initiatives, knowledge sharing, and guest speaker insights.

Watch the video of the store here:

Source: SPAR Switzerland

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About SPAR Switzerland

SPAR Switzerland was founded in 1989. In 2000, the family-owned business transformed into a holding company with three operating companies. The business grew, combining corporate and independently-owned stores, spanning forecourt retailing to large supermarkets.

In early 2016, SPAR Switzerland announced the sale of 60% of its shares to SPAR Group Ltd, South Africa. The remaining 40% was purchased in March 2021 by SPAR Group Ltd.