Success Story: Line Free Mobile Checkout increases Customer Convenience

Colruyt Group deploys Solution at Spar Supermarkets and OKay Convenience Stores

FROM FutureProofcase-study
November 12, 2018


Retail Segment: Grocery
Use Case: Mobile Shopping

Colruyt Group is a leading European retail conglomerate. Based in Halle, Belgium, Colruyt Group operates more than 1100 convenience stores and affiliated supermarkets under several different banners across Belgium, France, and Luxembourg. These include the Spar Colruyt Group supermarket chain and OKay convenience stores as well as the OKay Compact store format in inner cities.

Logo Colruyt Group web

Starting Point

Save time for customers and employees

Seeking to save customers more time and enhance their shopping experience, Colruyt Group launched an initiative to develop and implement a mobile shopping app for customers with self-scanning and self-checkout capabilities.
In addition to saving customers time by letting them do more for themselves and avoid waiting in checkout queues, the app should show the current total at any time for shoppers on a budget and allow shoppers to bag their purchase right away without the need to un- and rebag items at the cash register. The self-scanning mobile app would also reduce pressure on cashiers especially at peak times and free up employees who would otherwise operate traditional POS terminals.



Deploy a robust, reliable mobile shopping app to turn customers’ smart devices into enterprise-grade self-scanning machines

Colruyt Group’s brands have always been organized around efficient shopping and have a long history of improving POS software (developed by Colruyt Group) and the process of checkout with the goal to make checkout as frictionless as possible. But Colruyt Group had never before provided customers a self-scanning app in any of its retail brands. Since Spar Colruyt Group stores are independently owned, Colruyt Group realized that franchisees did not have the resources to invest in hardware or complex technology solutions. But they certainly want to be part of new innovations in retail, to surprise and delight customers.

For these reasons, Colruyt Group decided to develop and deploy a mobile shopping solution with an app that customers could download on their own smartphones directly. Individual Spar Colruyt Group and OKay stores would not have to acquire new hardware or engage in app development to support the process. In order to achieve this goal, Colruyt Group would need to work with a technology platform that could operate out of the box and was easy to integrate at the store level.

At the start of the pilot (named Scan.Pay.Go.), the Minimum Viable Product level was determined. The goal of the pilot is to realize that level. Colruyt Group will continue to invest in the idea once both consumers and staff like the solution and are able to successfully use it. Colruyt Group links measurable performance indicators to monitor progress. These include time saved by staff and NPS (Net Promotor Score).

Features that were must-haves for the MVP level:

  • Having an intuitive, user-friendly interface for the scanning app – which FutureProof Retail had, out of the box.
  • Use the Xtra (Loyalty card and app) registration process – to make sure the “entry barriers” are similar to the ones in a potential future product, and to collect valuable personalized input during the pilot.
  • Use a best-in-class scanning solution – to facilitate speedy recognition of all types of barcode. Colruyt Group wanted to make sure there were zero complaints on “scanning” issues, so customers could focus on the process and the tools.
  • Seamless integration with legacy cash register software – to make sure all transactions are valid (legal) transactions, to make sure there is no need to duplicate cash register promotion logic and to provide the option to take over a basket on a traditional cash register at any time.
  • Partnership with a scale vendor – since weighted products do not have a barcode and still need to be scanned by the customer. Colruyt Group chose Bizerba as scale provider for the pilot.
  • Using a Mobile Payment gateway that supports Bancontact - since this is supported by the vast majority of banks in Belgium.
  • Be 100% paperless – because that’s a digital achievement in itself.

FutureProof Retail successfully integrated their solution with our inhouse POS and Xtra loyalty systems within a few months!

Kristof Schraepen

Digital Transformation Manager, Colruyt Group


Customer Convenience with FutureProof Retail’s Self-Scanning Platform

Colruyt Group’s project team researched solutions available in the market and engaged with providers directly and at trade shows. After conducting lab tests, Colruyt Group chose FutureProof Retail due to the ease of use of its consumer app and the versatility of the platform that enabled seamless integration with Colruyt Group’s proprietary IT infrastructure.

The most difficult changes came from outside of the project’s scope.

  • Scanning performance and reliability – Customers point their phone’s camera at a barcode and expect the app to scan it quickly. And with thousands of products on the shelves there are always some with very small, curved or hard to read barcodes. FutureProof Retail integrated open source solutions as well as Scandit’s proprietary barcode scanning solution into its mobile shopping app. After testing, Colruyt Group was highly impressed with Scandit’s barcode scanning performance and ease of use and chose it as scanning module for FutureProof Retail’s app.
  • Physical limitations to 3G/4G and WiFi - In certain areas of the store, Colruyt Group depends on its store’s WiFi network, and needs to ensure that all users can get easily connected. This is not always the case. FutureProof Retail provided best practice examples to maximize communication in the app –and in the store- to get users connected as fluently as possible.
  • Mobile payment – In Belgium, debit cards are used much more than credit cards, and this makes the online payment process much lengthier. Futureproof implemented this means of payment for Colruyt Group, deep-diving into the details and providing continuous support in making the process faster and smoother.

“FutureProof Retail successfully integrated their solution with our inhouse POS and Xtra loyalty systems within a few months!” said Kristof Schraepen, Digital Transformation Manager, Colruyt Group. “Beyond that, they were able to customize features and branding in the app, implement different scanning SDKs, change the checkout process to incorporate security gates in the stores and integrate payment providers and banking apps popular in Belgium as payment methods.”

In April 2018, Colruyt Group launched a store pilot deploying its line-free mobile self-checkout Scan.Pay.Go. app developed in collaboration with FutureProof Retail at four Spar Colruyt Group supermarkets located in Belgium. Due to initial positive reaction of customers and within the company, Colruyt’s OKay brand decided to add four of its stores to the pilot. Colruyt Group made the app available for free download on iOS and Android devices.

FutureProof Retail’s app enables customers using it for the first time to simply scan their existing Xtra loyalty card or to enroll in the Colruyt Group Xtra loyalty rewards program right in the app. Whenever they shop, the app automatically recognizes them every time they launch it and automatically applies loyalty specials and rewards.

The app enables customers to scan the barcodes of items as they place them into their shopping cart, and view a running tally of their purchases on the display of their smartphone while shopping. When a customer is finished shopping and ready to pay for the items in their cart, they simply scan a QR code at a dedicated exit lane. This launches a debit card-based payment app of their choice. After making their payment, customers are automatically returned to FutureProof Retail’s app, where they receive a unique code to open a security gate at the exit.

FutureProof Retail’s self-scanning mobile checkout solution will offer our customers a new way of shopping that allows them to quickly get in and out of the store without having to wait in line at checkout.

Dirk Depoorter

CEO of Retail Partners Colruyt Group

The Results

Top Customer Reviews and Top Performance

Ratings and reviews from customers have been extremely positive. They can bag items immediately after scanning them and if there is no need for a bag check, they can load everything directly into the trunk of the car without unloading and reloading it at the POS terminal. Customers appreciate the fact they see their shopping cart total in real-time.

For store associates, reliable customer self-checkout with a shopping app has made it possible for them to spend more time on other important tasks, such as ensuring store organization and making certain that products are attractively displayed and facing forward.

“Employees can optimize store presentation,” said Schraepen. Most stores do these tasks when there is time left over, but they are crucial to ensure an enjoyable and efficient shopping experience.”

Although Colruyt Group expected mostly customers with smaller market baskets to take advantage of the mobile shopping app, the retailer has found that the average basket size when shopping with the app is comparable to the basket size in a traditional purchase. This means that the app is being used across the entire customer base according to individual shopper preference and not size of the shopping basket.

Beyond its intended scope, the project has sparked new initiatives in Colruyt Group, relating to smart scales, internet-connected exit gates, fully digital receipts and many more.

“FutureProof Retail’s self-scanning mobile checkout solution will offer our customers a new way of shopping that allows them to quickly get in and out of the store without having to wait in line at checkout” says Dirk Depoorter, CEO of Retail Partners Colruyt Group. “Especially for shoppers who just need a few items, this will be a big time saver.”

“The partnership with the team of FutureProof Retail, and their extensive retail experience (next to mobile development skills), has proven to be vital to the success of the project. We’re very satisfied so far, and certainly hope that our partnership with FPR remains fruitful.” concluded Schraepen.

About Futureproof Retail

Founded in 2013 by a group of impatient shoppers and award-winning developers in New York, FutureProof Retail (FPR) brings the best of online shopping offline by creating mobile shopping applications for retailers. FPR's mobile platform features line-free mobile checkout and line-free order-ahead retail. FutureProof Retail offers unique and customizable solutions for many retail verticals: grocery, fashion, big box, convenience, micro-markets, stadiums, airports and more.

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