Around 2002, as a participant of MIT’s Auto-ID center, the METRO Group saw the need to test, prove, observe and experience the acceptance of RFID and other new technologies in a real-life environment. The objective was to find solutions entailing real advantages for both the retail industry and the consumers. In the short run, the focus was on technologies that can increase the effectiveness of logistic processes and make shopping easier and more convenient. Longer run objectives include setting standards for retailing that can scale on an international basis.
On April 28, 2003, METRO Group opened its first “Future” Store in Rheinberg near Duisburg/Germany. The remodeled convenience store of METRO Group’s Extra sales division was a novelty and a breakthrough for the development of innovative technologies in retailing. What made the Future Store so special was that it was not a sterile laboratory, but a future “workshop” where everyday customers were able to experience the shopping of tomorrow. Many innovative technologies are not only present in the future store, but also in use. The first customer of the Future Store was Rheinberg born Claudia Schiffer who said, “I am happy to fire the starting shot for a real novelty. Shopping will become really exciting!”