smart cart Colruyt

Future-proof retail

By investing in innovation, we ensure that we remain relevant for our customers, personnel and partners in the long term. We’re fully convinced that digital technology can reinforce the physical aspects. And we apply this technology in our store of the future.

Innovation at Colruyt Group

The Colruyt Group innovation policy has evolved significantly. Considerable effort went into developing an overall innovation strategy and central innovation hub called ‘Colruyt Group Smart Innovation’. A separate and goal-oriented department, it can respond to new developments quickly and efficiently. This is where our innovation specialists combine their expertise and strengths to create and apply ground-breaking solutions for our customers, personnel and partners. Cooperation, knowledge sharing and commercial opportunities are brought together to further strengthen Colruyt Group.

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83 projects

in March 2024

Pieter-Jan Vandevelde

Pieter-Jan Vandevelde, Division Manager of Colruyt Group Smart Innovation and Corporate Finance
Our focus is on targeted innovations that deliver added value for our long-term strategy

Specific expertise

Colruyt Group Smart Innovation has three teams, each with its own focus and specialisation: Smart Technics, Smart Farming and Smart Utilities. They work together, but also join forces with other departments within Colruyt Group, such as the IT department, technical department and agriculture department.

Colruyt Group Smart Technics

Colruyt Group Smart Technics

Technological solutions for stores and logistics centres, with expertise in robotics, automation and digitisation.

Example: development of high-tech cleaning robots

Colruyt Group Smart Farming

Colruyt Group Smart Farming

Innovative technologies for efficient, environmentally friendly and cost-effective farming and cultivation methods.

Example: expansion of mussel farming and new sea farming products.

Colruyt Group Smart Utilities

Colruyt Group Smart Utilities

More (cost-)efficient and/or sustainable energy, water and material use.


Example: supporting our transition to zero-emission transport

How we develop new technology

Our new technology research and development resources are spent as efficiently as possible. For each and every project, we determine the most appropriate approach:

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Our own innovation

If we have considerable expertise in the subject or if it is proprietary, such as our replenishment system, we choose to develop the technology ourselves. Examples:



When we have less affinity or when good solutions are available that we can integrate, we buy external technology or collaborate with specialised partners. Examples:

The store of the future

From smart checkout points to unstaffed supermarkets, the innovations introduced in our stores follow one another in quick succession. One of our primary goals is to offer a shopping experience that is as carefree as possible for the convenience of our customers. A few innovations highlighted:

Easy check-out

In our stores, we make clever use of data, computer visions, the Internet of Things and even robotics to improve the customer experience and support our employees.

Smart technologies in our stores >

Okay Direct

Okay Direct is an excellent example of co-creation. We bought the refrigeration units, but made them smart and paved the way for the software, integration in our store concept and link to our Xtra loyalty programme.

The story behind our self-service stores >

Our other strategic focuses

Colruyt Group sees considerable potential in cities. With an adapted range of options, our various store formats meet the needs of urban residents.

How do we aim to achieve growth in the B2B market? By combining the strengths of our brands in a strong joint offer. Find out what our approach is.