‘Apps it all about?’ shop chain beats Sunday trading rules with introduction of phone app

Bio Family recently added to its network by opening an outlet in Konstancin Jeziorna near Warsaw. Bio Family Supermarket/Facebook

A small Polish supermarket chain has come up with an innovative solution to get round Poland’s restrictive Sunday trading laws.

BIO Family recently opened their fourth store in the country in Konstancin Jeziorna, just outside Warsaw. Along with opening the shop, the company also launched an app that allows customers twenty-four-hour access to their stores, seven days a week and every day of the year. The app is available for free in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.

The first of its kind in Poland the app allows registered users to receive a QR code directly to their phone to gain access to the store. Once inside shoppers can use the shop as normal and simply pay at the self-service tills before leaving using a normal bank or credit card, BLIK, Google Pay or Apple Pay. 

The system is similar that used by Naraffar in Sweden and Amazon Go in the USA. Both the Swedish chain and Amazon Go opened in 2016 but only recently has Amazon begun rolling its solution out to more locations in America.

BIO Family describe themselves as “a supermarket with organic and healthy food”.

The chain is hoping to prosper from a growing consumer demand for organic food.Bio Family Supermarket/Facebook

It adds that “all food products have a European organic food certificate, meaning they are bio. Only certified foods give us a guarantee and certainty that what we eat is safe for our health. We believe that organic food is the only recipe for health.”

The chain is hoping to do well out of a thriving market for bio-products as public awareness of the implications of what they eat has for both their health and planet grows.

“The share of organic food in the Polish food market is around 0.4 percent, while the average for EU countries is around 4 percent,” said Dawid Pecyna, Bio Family’s director of expansion. “We are glad, however, that the Polish market for bio products is growing at a rate of around 20 percent annually, and the offer and availability of healthy food for customers will be radically improved. We are also very pleased that we can be part of this process and successfully implement our mission.”

The Bio Family app that will allow customers unlimited access to the chain’s stores.Bio Family Supermarket/Facebook

The application was created by the Poznań-based firm Media Pracownia, and the security based monitoring solutions were installed by SMprotect, also from Poznań.

It is known that Żabka has also been working with AiFi, a firm specialising in retail technology, to create their own self-service shops that will be accessed via an app. “We want to create a new trading eco-system,” said Tomasz Blicharski, vice president of the management and financial affairs at Żabka. “Together with AiFi, we're working on an automated store that will make life easier for consumers.”