Euro Coop

Coop Czech Opens Biggest Manless Store

Coop Czech Opens Biggest Manless Store

Coop Czech expands its chain by opening new automatic stores, where consumers can shop 24/7. The new point of sale in Český Krumlov is the biggest automatic store in the country, enabling customers to do their shopping at any time of their choice and without queues.

Following the successful opening of the first Coop Czech automatic store in March in the small city of Strakonice, which was designed for customers’ small purchases and won the “Store of the Month” award, in June, Coop Czech opened in Krumlov the biggest automatic store in the country. Customers will be able to choose from a much wider range of goods, which includes more than 4,000 items.

According to Lukáš Němčík, Director of Development and Marketing of Coop Czech, customers are changing, and it is time for stores to start adapting more to their needs. "We want to test automatic operation in different formats and in different places. Our next automatic stores may appear next time, for example, in industrial areas, or even in the countryside” adds Lukáš Němčík. Coop Czech automatic stores will generally operate in hybrid mode, which means the staff will always be available during standard opening hours.

The store in Český Krumlov is situated near the old town and very close to several office buildings and companies: for residents, company employees, and domestic tourists, it represents the most congenial option for flexible and fast shopping. "Ensuring a longer opening time would be more expensive for the chain in terms of labor costs, but at the same time some customers do not have enough time to shop at standard opening hours, this is why automatic stores are the best solution" explains Lukáš Němčík.

The current statistics of automatic stores show that people often go shopping until midnight and on weekends, and compared to regular purchases, they buy more alcohol, sweets, and other delicacies. Following the experience of the first store, the new store will therefore also offer a wider range of premium alcohol as well as a specialized wine section.

The store underwent a partial renovation in order to make it energy efficient. A heat recovery system from compressors and energy-saving refrigerated display cases were installed. The store also functions as a service center with dispensing boxes, it offers an ATM, and a coffee machine.

Customers have no problem shopping “manless”

Even if automatic stores are still in the testing phase, the experience from the pilot store was extremely positive. Since its opening, it has recorded thousands of purchases and growing. The numbers show that customers have become accustomed to the purchasing system very quickly.

To enable shopping “manless”, customers need a bank identity and a dedicated mobile app. The payment itself is made through a regular self-service cash register. The entire space of the store is under the complete supervision of a camera system connected to the central security desk. This connection will allow solving possible complications as well as theft attempts. Customers can also use the emergency button or connect to remote security. "However, we have not noticed any technical issues and not even cases of theft or vandalism“ comments Lukáš Němčík.

Thanks to the bank identity, the customer can be easily and reliably identified through the app, instead of having to show their ID. It makes purchasing age-restrcited goods like any other item.

The automatic purchasing system used in the Coop chain is a domestic invention, provided by the Knowinstore company. According to its executive director, Pavel Kozler, the massive rise of digitization in business is only a matter of time. Different concepts of automatic stores are emerging around the world, for example in countries such as South Korea, these stores are already quite common. Great development can also be registered in the Scandinavian countries or Western Europe. Coop carefully follow current trends in retail and partners with Knowinstore to replicate the best examples in the Czech Republic.

Banking identity in the Czech Republic:

  5.5 million unique users

  1.3 million unique accesses since the launch of the service

  7 banks involved

  Used to access digital institutional services and private companies

How the store is secured against theft

  Each customer is uniquely identified through a bank identity

  The space of automatic stores is completely covered by a camera system

 The store is connected to the central security desk, and the system is activated each time a customer enters the store

How to make a purchase in the automatic store

  Download the Contio mobile app

  Register in the app- COOP Strakonice automatic store

  Use the QR code on your mobile phone to enter the store.

  Take your cart and shop

  Scan the goods at the cash register

  Confirm the purchase and pay by credit card / mobile phone

  To leave the store, scan the QR code from the application again


Source: Coop Czech's website

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