Blog | 4 August, 2018

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No trip to a till – Tesco trials smartphone shopping in store

Tesco is testing whether supermarket customers can buy products without visiting a till. The UK’s biggest retailer has given staff a smartphone app to use at a store at the company’s headquarters. They use the app to scan barcodes on the products they want and then pay, with no trip to a till needed.

The Tesco store at its headquarters in Welwyn Garden City is also cashless, which Tesco says has cut the average time spent at a checkout to 45 seconds. It takes shoppers at similar-sized stores that accept cash an average of 90 seconds at the checkout.

Given Tesco’s size, if it did adopt the technology it would be significant advance for checkout-free shopping. Co-op is experimenting with similar technology and Amazon already has a checkout-free grocery store in Seattle, US, that is open to the public.

Amazon’s store in Seattle has a more sophisticated system. Shoppers enter by swiping their smartphone that has the Amazon Go app. The store uses hundreds of ceiling-mounted cameras and electronic sensors to identify each customer and track the items they select. Customers can place any item straight into their shopping bags and purchases are billed to their credit cards when they leave the store.

A sure-fire win for the customer, delivering a swift and efficient shopping experience and one that will pave the way for further digital advances in retail.