Coop Italia’s much-anticipated supermarket of the future, which was originally presented as a temporary concept store at the heart of Expo Milano 2015’s Future Food District, has become a reality with the opening of the company’s latest outlet at the Bicocca Village commercial centre in Milan.
Designed by leading architect Carlo Ratti in partnership with Coop, Accenture and the latter’s joint venture with Microsoft, Avanade, the sleek, high-tech store covers an area of 1,000m2 and apparently stocks around 6,000 individual products – including a large proportion of fresh produce and fresh convenience items – with a major emphasis on making the shopping experience a faster, more pleasurable one.
Most eye-catching of all are the interactive mirror screens above each of the deliberately low and more accessible banks of fresh produce. The digital displays offer relevant product information, while the shelves below are equipped with smart displays designed to keep shoppers up to speed with real-time information on things such as promotions, provenance, nutritional data and carbon footprint.
By waving a hand in the direction of the products’ so-called ‘augmented labels’, those customers can call up details that, according to Coop, go beyond what’s printed on the packaging itself and access, for example, information about where and how the product was grown.
“Ever since Expo 2015 we have banked on transparency and innovation as ways of attracting the consumers of today and tomorrow,” explained Marco Pedroni, president of Coop Italia. “The next step we’re taking with this opening in Milan is to make what was part of an exceptional experience a normal, everyday thing.”
He added: “We think we're in line with what the Italians are demanding more of in a store: some convenience and variety, but also the complete shopping experience, faster and in new ways, but in line with Coop’s values of security and transparency.”