OKay launches a 24/7 self-service store concept
Starting tomorrow OKay will test an 'OKay Direct' in the centre of Ghent, an innovative store concept that allows customers to shop for groceries 24/7 thanks to the support of technology. With this pilot project the retailer meets the evolving needs of the customer such as the importance of autonomy and freedom, and also a focus on product quality. With this new shopping experience, OKay wants to appeal to a broader target group than with traditional store formulas.
As a retail group, Colruyt Group keeps a close track of the evolution of society and consumer expectations. More autonomy, freedom and a focus on product quality are becoming increasingly important. OKay wants to respond to these evolving needs with a new 24/7 store concept in which self-service plays a central role. "In order to keep serving our customers optimally in the future, we are continuously studying and developing innovative solutions that contribute to a simple, quick and easy shopping experience for the customers" says Gert Somers, responsible for city formats at OKay.
New shopping experience thanks to technology
As of tomorrow the 9th of November, customers will be able to test a new shopping experience at OKay Direct in the Belfortstraat in the centre of Ghent. In this modern city store customers can do their grocery shopping 24/7 thanks to the support of technology developed by Smart Technics - the innovative start-up within Colruyt Group.
The customer can access the store by scanning the QR-code of his Xtra app or card. With that QR-code the customer can open the doors of cupboards or refrigerators to take products. All purchases are registered based on product detection on the shelves. By scanning the QR-code again at the check-out the final bill is made and the customer can pay electronically before leaving the store. In that way the customer can handle the entire purchasing process in full autonomy and at his own pace.
Balanced assortment, also for fresh products
On a surface of 150m² 650 references will be on offer around the clock in the new OKay Direct, both A-brands and private label products Boni and Everyday. Important is the assortment of fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as fresh meat, fish and bread, perfect for daily grocery shopping. In addition, customers will also find ready-made meals and a number of "emergency" products like toilet paper and tooth paste. The prices in this self-service store are in line with those of products at OKay Compact in the neighbourhood. That way, OKay fulfils its brand promise 'quick, cheap and easy' to the fullest.
Added value for city customers
"A great added value for the customers is that they can do grocery shopping in their neighbourhood 24/7. In this way, we want to appeal to target groups who would benefit from a store with longer opening hours. I am thinking of students, people with irregular or late working hours such as health care workers, emergency services and so on," says Gert Somers.
With this innovative pilot project we will evaluate the feasibility, popularity and success of such a store format in an urban environment. We believe the interest in such concepts is on the rise and that it responds to the evolving needs of customers. We will test the concept extensively before rolling it out on a larger scale to other large cities," Gert Somers concludes.
For questions, please contact Colruyt Group's press office via email@example.com or 0473-92-45-10.
About Smart Technics
Smart Technics is an innovative start-up within Colruyt Group that lives by the motto: from inspiration to implementation. The team provides a broad spectrum of services, ranging from engineering, and project management to the design and implementation of technological solutions, both for the store environment and for logistics centres and production activities.
About Colruyt Group
Colruyt Group operates in the food and non-food distribution sector in Belgium, France and Luxembourg with more than 600 own stores and over 580 affiliated stores. In Belgium, this includes Colruyt Lowest Prices, OKay, Bio-Planet, Cru, Dreamland, Dreambaby, Bike Republic and the affiliated Spar and Spar Compact stores. In France, in addition to Colruyt stores, there are also affiliated Coccinelle, Coccimarket and Panier Sympa stores. The group is a majority shareholder of The Fashion Society, which includes the fashion retail chains ZEB, PointCarré, The Fashion Store and ZEB For Stars. JIMS runs fitness clubs in Belgium and Luxembourg. Solucious and Culinoa deliver food service and retail products to professional customers in Belgium (hospitals, SMEs, hospitality sector, etc.). The other activities comprise energy supply by DATS 24 in Belgium (fuels, natural gas and green energy) and France (fuels), printing and document management solutions (Symeta Hybrid) and the production of green energy (Eoly). The group employs over 32.000 employees and recorded a EUR 9.9 billion revenue in 2020/21. Colruyt is listed on Euronext Brussels (COLR) under ISIN-no. BE0974256852.
OKay is Colruyt Group’s local supermarket format. Customers can find everything they need there. OKay stores are set up near town or city centres and guarantee the lowest prices in the neighbourhood. OKay opened its very first store on 14 January 1998 in Ertvelde and has since then been opening an average of 6 new stores every year. They intend to keep up this frequency in the years to come. Today, OKay has about 140 stores in Belgium. Since November 2015, the chain also has its own distribution centre at the industrial estate of Lot (Beersel) in Flemish Brabant. OKay currently employs more than 2,500 co-workers.