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With SmartShop Technology, Sainsbury’s Conducting Till-Free Checkout Test

SmartShop at Sainsbury's

Shoppers at Sainsbury’s Holborn Circus convenience store in London can check out the UK’s first till-free grocery store, which is testing SmartShop Scan, Pay & Go technology. Customer feedback from the experiment will help Sainsbury’s develop the  app further before being rolled out more widely.

“We know our customers value their time and many want to shop as quickly as possibletechnology is key to that,” said Sainsbury’s Group Chief Digital Officer Clodagh Moriarty. “This is an experiment rather than a new format for us—it hasn’t been done in the UK before and we’re really excited to understand how our customers respond to the app experience. We’ll be with our customers and colleagues all the way over the coming months, iterating continuously based on their feedback before we decide if, how and where we make this experience more widely available.”

All customers will scan and pay for their groceries using the SmartShop Scan, Pay & Go app, which they download on their smartphones. They scan their groceries as they go around the store, pay in the app and scan a QR code before leaving, which reassures them that they have paid. There will be no need to line up at checkout or pay at a register terminal.

The store has been refurbished to remove the checkout area and registers. This frees up store employees to spend their time on the sales floor helping customers and keeping shelves fully stocked. The store will have a help desk to support anyone who wishes to pay with cash or cards. Currently, 82 percent of transactions in this London convenience store are cashless.

The range of products available at the store has been tailored specifically for busy customers buying breakfast or lunch and other food to eaten on-the-go. In addition to ready-to-eat products, including drinks, snacks, breakfast pots, freshly baked pastries and sandwiches that can easily and quickly be picked up, scanned and paid for, the store will also offer a self-service coffee machine for hot drinks to go.

The experiment will last for three months, during which Sainsbury’s will listen closely to customer and colleague feedback.

The Holborn Circus till-free store experiment builds on the success of Sainsbury’s SmartShop Scan, Pay & Go app. Sainsbury’s was the first UK supermarket to bring in-app mobile payments to customers in a grocery store—in August last year—and the technology is currently live in eight convenience stores across London.

About the author

Renee Sexton

Renee is a graduate of the Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University and worked more than two decades in broadcast and digital journalism before coming over to the print side.

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