All you need is a phone in Sweden’s brand new do-it-yourself grocery store. A new app takes care of scanning and paying for items, so there’s no need for any staff. Sharon Reich reports
Naraffar is the shop that never closes and has no staff.
People living in this town in eastern Sweden can now shop any time of day at the country’s first unmanned grocery store. From getting in to scanning their items, it’s all done with an iPhone app. The app links to a user’s bank account, so at the end of the month customers receive an invoice for the goods they bought.
Naraffar owner, Robert Ilijason.
STORE OWNER, ROBERT ILIJASON:
“I was home alone with my kid, I was supposed to give him food, baby food, and I lost the canister of baby food and dropped it on the floor. It was the last one and I panicked and we needed to leave to get a new one and here in the village we didn’t have any open stores, we had to go to the big city and then I decided that we need a store here in the village that is always open. And of course having personnel 24/7 is too expensive so I used technology to solve that problem,” he said.
For security, the door stays open for eight seconds and there are cameras installed inside. A credit check is done on new members, but for the most part the concept is based on trust.
Items like dairy products, frozen and dried foods are in stock but ultimately demand will determine what the store sells.
While it’s only been open a short while, customers are catching on.
CUSTOMER, JESPER NILSSON:
“The size of this shop compares to other shops with the same size small shops they tend to have higher prices and this one doesn’t. You have the normal price here of a normal super store.”
CUSTOMER, MARIT KIELLAND BJERKE:
“The best thing with shopping at ‘Naraffar’ is probably the convenience and the location being, you know, it’s a small place and it’s pretty much in the middle of two bigger stores. It’s very convenient. It’s open 24/7 so you’re able to get necessary products that you probably forgot in the store or that you feel like having late at night or early in the morning before the other grocery stores have opened.”
Ilijason is already thinking about expanding his business; although the store’s staff Christmas party promises to be a rather solitary affair.
Source: Scientific American