Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s is trialling its first “till-free” store, in which shoppers do not need to queue for a staffed or self-service checkout. Instead, customers can scan goods with a smartphone and put them straight into a bag. When they have finished shopping, their payment is processed by the phone.
One industry expert suggested UK supermarkets had been inspired by a checkout-free trial store opened by online retailer Amazon in Seattle.
The Sainsbury’s SmartShop app lets customers scan the contents of their trolley as they browse the aisles to reduce waiting time at the checkout.
The app is already available in 68 stores, but customers in one location will now be able to pay with the app too.
The trial is currently only available in the Clapham North Sainsbury’s Local, to iPhone users who have Apple Pay set up on their device.
After scanning an item they want to buy, customers can put it straight into their own personal shopping bag.
After finishing their shopping, customers scan a QR code by the store’s exit to confirm their purchases. They are then free to leave.
However, customers will still have to speak to a member of staff to remove security tags from any protected items, and at the moment alcohol cannot be purchased using the app.
Mr Leyland said the advent of self-scanning in supermarkets was speeding up the shopping experience.
“They raise two key challenges, however, firstly around security, or shrinkage as it’s known in the press – how to stop shoplifters.
“Secondly around compliance, as certain items like alcohol and medicines have age and dosage-based restrictions.”