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Sainsbury’s tests checkout-less technology

Published 26 September 2017

Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s is testing a checkout-less technology that will allow customers to pay for goods using their mobile phone.

The cost of the goods will be deducted directly from the bank account of the customer or credit card via phone.

Earlier this month, Sainsbury’s began testing the technology at the Euston Station branch, where consumers scanned items with their phones, paid for them automatically and left the store without having to wait in a queue.

During the trials, customers used an app on their smartphone to buy the store’s £3 meal deal comprising a sandwich, side and a drink without having to wait in the queue to pay.

The technology is being developed by the company’s experts as part of efforts to reduce check-out queues.

The supermarket claimed that it has received positive feedback from the trials.

Recently, e-commerce and cloud computing company Amazon had announced plans to introduce such technology, and it has been testing the technology in Seattle. Sensors track ‘virtual baskets’ of shoppers at Amazon and payment is made automatically when the customers leave the store.

The Sainsbury’s ‘SmartShop’ app through which customers can scan items with their phone and pay at the check-out is already available. The app is likely to be extended to 50 stores by the end of the year.

Sainsbury’s head of customer experience Natalie Dunn said: “We are always looking for new ways to help our customers live well – and saving customers time is one way we can do so.”

“Experimenting with a checkout-free experience is a first for Sainsbury’s and many of our customers, so we are keen to understand how we can take the concept and develop an offering that is genuinely useful for those who shop with us. We are very excited to have taken this first step,” Dunn added.

However, Usdaw, the shop workers’ union, said that the technology could affect the local job market as it would eventually eliminate the need for physical employees.

Image: Sainsbury’s store. Photo: courtesy of Sainsbury’s.