Saturn Express – Review of pilot project in Innsbruck: Europe’s first cashierless consumer electronics store recommended by 85 percent of customers

  • New system used by 30,000 visitors from across the globe
  • Saturn Express scored with time savings, an innovative shopping experience and friendly expert advice
  • Nine out of ten customers would recommend Saturn Express to their friends and acquaintances
  • Other checkout-free pilot projects in the pipeline across Europe

Ingolstadt/Vösendorf, 04 June 2018 – About three months ago, Saturn Express launched Europe’s first cashierless consumer electronics store. The pilot project’s trial period has now ended as planned on 30 May. Customers’ conclusions have been extremely positive, underlining the relevance of new retail concepts in Austria.

Since the beginning of March 2018, customers have been able to experience the future of retail at Saturn Express, Europe’s first cashierless store concept for consumer electronics. The store enabled shoppers to take home the latest tech directly without having to first queue up at the checkout. Customers scanned the barcode of the products they wanted by using the Saturn Express app on their smartphone, paid automatically by credit card or PayPal, and could then leave the store immediately with their latest gadgets without hanging around. The solution was developed and implemented in conjunction with MishiPay, a British startup. MishiPay is part of the Retailtech Hub, the MediaMarktSaturn Retail Group’s in-house accelerator programme.

Future retail: Pilot project impresses across the board

“Over the past few months, we’ve gained important practical experience with Europe’s first cashier-free consumer electronics store and listened to the opinions of numerous customers. The innovative store format was consistently well received and positively rated. That’s partly due to the personal sales advice, of course, for the new technology means staff have more time for their customers. This customer feedback confirms that Saturn Express is a concept which can be further developed for widespread implementation. We’re proud of the success of Saturn Express, and the positive feedback reaffirms our intention to drive forward the future of retail in Austria,” said Florian Gietl, Chief Executive Officer of MediaMarktSaturn Austria.

“The positive figures from Saturn Express have confirmed that checkout-free payment will play an important role in combining the benefits of in-store shopping and online retail. We’re currently working on the next pilot projects with different systems across Europe,” added Martin Wild, Chief Innovation Officer of the MediaMarktSaturn Retail Group.

At the Retailtech Hub, MediaMarktSaturn is collaborating with a number of companies working on cashierless payments, for the systems are suitable for different applications. For example, the MishiPay system is ideal for products which are purchased in small quantities and aren’t too expensive. Another system to be shortly trialled comes from the founders of Rapitag and registers payment via an anti-theft system of the type used on, say, computer games and games consoles. To give customers a single payment experience, multiple solutions could be integrated within the same app.

Huge recommendation score and high interest

The Saturn pilot project was devised in particular in response to the Digital Roadmap Austria, the digital strategy of the Austrian government. To this end, Saturn combined its comfortable, digitized shopping experience with detailed advice provided in-store. This was appreciated by customers, for according to a survey carried out by Saturn, more than 85 percent of all Saturn Express customers said they would recommend the store to their friends and acquaintances. The time savings achieved through cashierless shopping as well as the helpful in-store sales assistan were rated particularly highly and reflect Saturn’s clear emphasis on customer service in Austria.

In addition to numerous customers, reflecting the Retailtech Hub’s open policy, well-known retail companies and industry representatives from Austria and abroad went to Saturn Express to see and try out the new solution for themselves. Once again, the feedback was very positive with great interest expressed by commercial visitors in using the technology in their own stores.

Key figures

  • Saturn Express was visited by more than 500 interested Saturn fans every day during the pilot project.
  • In addition to various headphone models, the items which proved the most popular were Bluetooth speakers, hard disks, smartphones and smartphone accessories as well as coffee machines.
  • A third of all scanned products were immediately purchased using the Saturn Express app.
  • Those who had bought something from Saturn Express were keen to return, with large numbers of customers going back to Saturn Express to make additional purchases.
  • On average, Saturn Express customers bought goods worth around €50 per visit.

Future focus on Digital@POS

Saturn intends to keep concentrating on customer focus, services and the integration of in-store digital technology. Said Florian Gietl: “We’re championing a broad increase in the use of digital tools at Saturn stores. In addition to the seamless, optimum combination of bricks-and-mortar retail and online sales, our employees throughout Austria have for example been equipped with their own tablets, enabling them to carry out various processes from taking online orders to producing receipts for customers quickly and easily. In line with our service orientation, we’ll continue to take focused measures to expand our range of services.”