Colruyt France - Checkout

efficiency of A Belgian system
into the French retail world


Belgian supermarket Colruyt does everything their own way. Even the checkout process is unique. When they needed to adapt this process for French norms, Colruyt came to Achilles.
At Colruyt in Belgium, the cashier takes you're items directly from your shopping cart, scans them, and loads them into another cart. This saves time and space within the Colruyt system and results in beter customer intimacy. Unfortunately this didn't fully fit within French norms and laws. Rather than just purchasing standard checkout counters and copying other retail chains, Colruyt decided to develop a new checkout counter that more efficiently fit their unique personality.

A brand new workflow for clients and cashier



The challenge was to combine Colruyt's cart-to-cart system with a more traditional rolling band system. This hybrid checkout had to ensure that the employee would never have to lift heavy items. Unlike most checkout counters in Europe, this system has the cashier standing so they are at the same level as the customer, therefore seeming more approachable and friendly. This also allows them to be highly mobile and allow quick personnel changes. This all leads to a more efficient manner of working.

Verification of concepts in real life



Ergonomics were absolutely crucial in this project. The best way to create and verify different concepts, was using true size prototypes. Very basic models made of simple materials (wood, cardboard, etc) were used for role playing games, to optimise the workflow. They provided immediate feedback to the design team, on different configurations or variations of the concept.

Efficiency as a design driver



Efficiency is the number one factor at Colruyt so naturally this is also carried through to the construction of the checkout counters. A smart break up into individual modules allows for fast assembly and repairs. The split up also allowed Colruyt to use many parts left and right reducing the overall part count, cutting down on inventory and transport through nesting parts together.