Shufersal opens Israel’s first shop-and-go grocery store in Tel Aviv

Israeli startup Trigo powers frictionless shopping tech at centrally located shop in city where patrons can select items and simply walk out, skipping the checkout line

Ricky Ben-David is The Times of Israel’s Tech Israel editor and reporter.

A Shufersal store in Tel Aviv with checkout-free technology powered by Israeli company Trigo. (Trigo)
A Shufersal store in Tel Aviv with checkout-free technology powered by Israeli company Trigo. (Trigo)

After Britain, Germany, the US and the Netherlands, Israel is getting its first grab-and-go, checkout-free grocery store in Tel Aviv, powered by shopping technology developed by Israeli company Trigo.

Israel’s largest supermarket chain Shufersal has been piloting Trigo’s tech for several years and announced on Thursday that it opened its first automated supermarket store on Mendele Street in central Tel Aviv where shoppers can walk in, select their items and walk out without having to stand in the checkout line or fiddle with self-checkout stands. Payments and receipts are handled digitally.

To do this, Trigo applies its proprietary algorithms to ceiling-mounted cameras that can automatically track shoppers’ movements and product choices in the store in real time.

Trigo’s checkout-free shopping tech is already operational at a Tesco grocery store in London, REWE shops in Berlin and Cologne, a Netto City store in Munich and an Aldi Nord in the central Dutch city of Utrecht. The company made its first foray into the US earlier this year with a pilot scheme at a Wakefern New Jersey store. Wakefern Food Corp is the largest retailer-owned cooperative in the US.

Tesco, REWE and Aldi Nord are grocery heavyweights in the UK and across Europe. Aldi Nord, a division of German-owned supermarket chain Aldi, is considered the largest grocery retailer on the continent and also operates Trader Joe’s markets in the US.

But the Trigo-powered Shufersal store in Tel Aviv is a standout in that it “packs in more goods per square foot than any other Trigo-powered store,” said Trigo co-founder and CEO Michael Gabay in a company statement.

The new Shufersal Express Shop&Go automated store in Tel Aviv, powered by Trigo’s checkout-free tech. (Trigo)

The 1,080 square-foot Shufersal Express Shop&Go store “is unique in the field of autonomous stores with a wide range of products and will provide customers with an autonomous shopping experience that has never been seen before in Israel,” he wrote in a LinkedIn post following the announcement.

Shufersal, he added in the statement, “was the first company to believe in our vision and played a key role in the evolution of our product.”

Supermarket and retail giants worldwide are scrambling to offer new consumer experiences and conveniences — so-called frictionless shopping — amid fierce competition, razor-thin margins in the grocery space, supply chain management issues and the continued expansion of Amazon into the grocery retail business.

The commerce giant offers its ‘Go’ and ‘Just Walk Out’ shopping experiences at over 30 physical Amazon Go and Amazon Fresh locations in the US and the UK, where shoppers also walk in and walk out with their items, while skipping the checkout process.

But whereas Amazon has to build custom-made stores for its tech, Trigo works with retailers that already have the infrastructure in place, giving the Israeli company an edge.

A shopper at a REWE store in Cologne, Germany, that has been outfitted with Trigo’s checkout-free, grab-and-go technology. (REWE/Kai Schulz)

Trigo specializes in retrofitting existing spaces, allowing retailers to keep their unique character and layout while turning them into fully autonomous, digital stores.

“Physical retail is the one space where traditional businesses can take on Amazon and win. The chains we’re working with have thousands of existing stores, Amazon has to build new stores,” said Gabay, who founded Trigo in 2018 with his brother Daniel.

Shufersal is also facing increasing competition with the entry of French supermarket chain Carrefour, Dutch-owned international supermarket chain SPAR and 7-Eleven in Israel in the coming years.

Carrefour and 7-Eleven are set to open hundreds of stores between them in the next few years.

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