Couche-Tard is partnering with McGill University on the launch of a retail innovation lab that will serve as a "live testing ground for innovative and frictionless technologies that address the retail sector's challenges of the future," according to a press release announcing the venture.
The lab--part of the university's Bensadoun School of Retail Management and located on its downtown Montreal campus--is open to the public and serves as a testing ground for new technologies and innovations.
For instance, a section of the store called Couche-Tard Connecté allows for autonomous and contactless checkout. Using an app, customers can unlock the door to the Connecté section, pick up items and leave. Payment will be processed through the shopper's app.
"At Couche-Tard, we are always searching for innovative solutions that improve the experience for our customers in our stores," said Deborah Hall Lefevre, chief technology officer, Alimentation Couche-Tard.
"By having a live laboratory, we are confident that the research projects and technologies successfully tested at the lab may eventually be implemented in some of our 14,220 stores across our global network," Hall Lefevre added.
The lab is led by Professor Maxime Cohen of the Desautels Faculty of Management and Professor James Clark of the Faculty of Engineering.