Online and digital developments in the Nordics

Harriet Cohen
Senior Retail Analyst

Date : 28 February 2020

Three developments from retailers in Sweden, Finland, and Denmark as they look to build their online and digital skill and scale.

Sweden: ICA’s test for unmanned stores

In collaboration with innovation hub ICAx and the Värmland region, ICA Nära Silleurd is the first among the larger chains to test an unstaffed store. Having begun in December 2019, the test will end on February 29, 2020. It will then enter the analysis stage, answering and solving any questions and impracticalities.

Regular shopping hours are between 9am to 6pm, however from 6am-9am, and 6pm-midnight, the store is unstaffed. Shoppers get into the store with a bank ID, while a security guard remains to answer any questions and to aid shoppers.

Results of the test have been positive, as shoppers spend on average around SEK 150 (US $16). Shoppers between the ages of 17-23 have increased by 30%, which is exciting for the retailer, as this age group is the hardest to attract in a countryside shop.

The retailer hopes to begin phase two before summer 2020, which includes adding more pilot stores of different sizes in numerous locations.

Finland: parcel lockers for cold groceries

Meanwhile, online delivery platform Smartmile, lifting equipment company Konecranes, and retailer Kesko have launched the first robotic cold storage parcel lockers in Finland. The lockers provide a safe place to store and pick-up online groceries at any time of the day.

Lockers are equipped with fridges to allow the normal storage of cold foods, while frozen foods will have special packaging to delay thawing. The lockers have allowed shoppers to purchase online groceries in confidence that their vegetables will not rot or mold on their doorsteps.

Smartmile CEO, Aku Happo, said: “We wanted to revolutionize the customer experience by making daily shopping as easy and convenient as possible. Together with our partners we created a solution that combines daily grocery shopping and picking up online orders.”

Denmark: SPAR adds collection points for IKEA

Separately, Danish retail group Dagrofa has announced a collaboration between Spar and IKEA. The partnership allows shoppers to collect their online IKEA orders from multiple Spar outlets in Denmark.

Hoping to bring IKEA products to local communities, the “Klik og Hent” (click and download) is currently available in 20 outlets in the country.

Richo Boss, chain director for Spar, Min Købmand (My Grocery) and Let-Køb (Easy-Buy), said: "Our grocers are already a local gathering point for the community, and therefore it makes sense to also cooperate with IKEA on the delivery of goods”.