It is only the second OKay Direct in Belgium, after Ghent, and it has a very special design indeed: a high-tech container which offers a limited range of about 200 products. The focus is on fresh, on-the-go and fast meal solutions.
With this concept, OKay aims at an audience that wants to shop faster, also outside traditional opening hours and on Sundays. This 24/7 solution will be extensively tested in Lennik, after which an evaluation follows.
OKay Direct: A first for the Pajottenland region
OKay Direct first opened its automatic doors in the centre of Ghent almost eighteen months ago. In this modern self-service store, customers can shop every day of the week, day and night, thanks to the ingenious technology developed by Smart Technics, the innovation hub within Colruyt Group. A copy of this recipe for success is now being set up in the town of Lennik. The people of Lennik already had an OKay store to go to and now, thanks to this pilot project, they get an additional 24/7 service. “We saw the potential of OKay Direct from the very beginning,” says Christophe Dehandschutter, OKay’s general manager. “The concept is perfectly scalable. The technology used offers numerous opportunities to develop other applications: to go much bigger, or just much smaller, in an urban or in a totally different context. We intend to expand OKay Direct within cities, but we would also like to explore other avenues. This is exactly why we are now taking the first steps in Lennik.”
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Technological masterpiece on 21 m²
Customers can visit OKay Direct in the car park of OKay Lennik, day and night, from 1 February. They can also come here on Sundays for freshly baked puff pastry, bread rolls and bread. Customers can access the store by scanning the QR code from their Xtra app or card. The same QR code opens the doors of the (refrigerated) cabinets, so people can take out the products. All purchases are registered based on product detection in the racks. By scanning the QR code again at the checkout, the final bill is generated and customers can pay electronically before leaving the store. In this way, customers can make their purchases completely autonomously and at their own pace. Thus, OKay Direct in Lennik offers an additional solution for quick, cheap and easy shopping.
The product range customers will find is more restricted at OKay Direct than at the OKay store nearby. On an area of 21 m², they will find around 200 products for an early breakfast, quick lunch or late snack. The focus is on fresh products, including fruit and vegetables, rolls and biscuits, ready meals, sushi, fish, meat and cold meats. There will also be a limited selection of drinks and dry food on the shelves. Customers will find well-known A-brands as well as the Boni private label. The OKay Direct will be stocked by OKay Lennik shop staff.
Expansion on the radar
In Ghent, the new OKay Direct store concept more than lives up to expectations. Results are evolving positively and customers are responding with enthusiasm. “We are obviously curious about the reactions of our customers in Lennik. All feedback is more than welcome,” says Christophe Dehandschutter. “Although we are very confident that this new concept will give our customers more freedom, flexibility and convenience and that it will meet their evolving needs.” OKay’s general manager also sees a lot of future potential for this formula: “OKay Direct is an added value for both customers and Colruyt Group. It is therefore our intention to open additional branches in the very short term.”
Source: Colruyt Group