Shopping around the clock has become part of everyday life for many people. Shoes and cutlets, books and flowers, furniture and marzipan – there is (almost) nothing that cannot be purchased late into the night, or at least ordered online. But what does a tradesman do when he needs a certain material or tool straightaway late in the evening or in the wee hours of the morning?
Würth has created a solution for such situations with its first 24-hour shop in the Bavarian city of Vöhringen. The branch office is located in a small industrial park near the A7 highway, with only the shop sign on the outside revealing the revolutionary sales concept. Normal sales operations with Würth employees take place during regular opening hours from Monday to Friday.
However, starting at 5 pm, the shop turns into an “open sesame” for all customers who have a smartphone and the Würth app. Customers can request a QR code via the app, which admits them to the shop containing 4,500 products at any time by means of an automatic access system, called the “Galaxy Gate”. There are no longer personnel on site. The system recognizes the customer number and the customer is greeted by name on the display at the entrance. This works from Monday to Saturday. The Würth24 branch office only remains closed on Sundays.
“AFTER CLOSING TIME, CUSTOMERS CAN SHOP ON THEIR OWN AT WÜRTH24”
The customers can then stroll through the roughly 500-square-meter shop under camera surveillance on their own outside of opening hours and select the appropriate products off the shelves. Finally, customers simply have to place the selected items on the conveyor belt at the cash register. The high-tech tunnel scanner identifies each product using the corresponding label and the prices are added up. At the very end, a delivery slip with the individual items is printed out. Once the payment has been completed, the “Galaxy Gate” displays a green light and automatically lets the customer back outside. The amount is then invoiced to the customer.
In order to make the shopping experience as comfortable as possible, music plays through the speakers on the ceiling. And the shop is lit up just as brightly as during the day. Moreover, a voice output is being planned with instructions on the screen describing how to operate the system. In a further stage, customers should also be able to select the language in which the system guides them.
What has Würth learned so far regarding the new 24-hour service? “At the moment, primarily standard products such as silicone, anchors and screws are purchased outside of the normal business hours,” says Matthias Glaser, head of branch office expansion at Würth.
Usually, customers do their shopping up until around 8 pm or on Saturday afternoon after closing time – until now, hardly anyone has considered the option of stopping by Vöhringen in the middle of the night.
The “Galaxy Gate” gives the green light
Die „Galaxy Gate“ genannte Schleuse gewährt registrierten Würth Kunden außerhalb der regulären Öffnungszeiten Zugang zum 24-h-Shop in Vöhringen. Über die Würth App kann man per Smartphone einen QR-Code anfordern, den das Lesegerät am Eingang erkennt. Der Kunde wird auf dem Display rechts hinter der Plexiglastür namentlich begrüßt und kann nun die Niederlassung allein betreten und einkaufen – auch wenn kein Personal vor Ort ist.
The new gate referred to as the “Galaxy Gate” grants registered Würth customers access to the 24-hour shop in Vöhringen outside of normal opening hours. A QR code can be requested in the Würth app on any smartphone, which is then recognized by the reader at the entrance. Customers are greeted by name on the display to the right behind the Plexiglas door and can then enter the branch office and shop by themselves – even if there are currently no personnel on site.
Thus, it will soon be possible to buy screws late into the night at many different locations – the golden hours for night owls.