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How M&S has used digital to make it easier – and safer – to pay in-store ahead of Christmas

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M&S has brought new roaming payments into its stores as it looks to make it easier and faster for customers to pay this Christmas. 

The multichannel retailer, ranked Elite in RXUK Top500 research, has introduced Pay with Me to 200 stores in order to reduce queuing. The new technology has been trialled at seven shops before being rolled out more widely.  It means that store staff can identify those shoppers who are queueing to pay for a small basket and put their payment through on the spot. Shoppers can pay via a handheld Honeywell device using cards, contactless payment and Apple Pay. Points in the M&S Sparks loyalty scheme are registered at the same time, and shoppers get a full receipt. 

In addition to the new technology, 1,000 extra self-service tills have been installed at 69 high-footfall stores, and shoppers can also pay using Scan & Shop at 30 shops. Shoppers can now use its Mobile Pay Go technology in all 573 of M&S’ own UK stores. Customers have been able to book their in-store shopping slot through the Sparks Book & Shop service since November, and more than 350,000 slots have been booked so far. 

These measures are intended to reassure shoppers that it is safer to buy in-store as the busiest time of the retail year coincides with new peaks of infection during the Covid-19 pandemic. But it will also set a new expectation of faster and more convenient service for the long-term. 

Other Covid-secure measures including later openings in order to reduce crowds, with more than 400 shops opening until midnight on trading days until December 23. Contact-free delivery and free click and collect to more than 600 shops are also in place for online shoppers. 

Helen Milford, M&S stores director, says: “Throughout the year our teams have done a fantastic job of adapting quickly to serve our customers through challenging and changing circumstances. 

“In preparation for Christmas, we have put in place extensive measures to make shopping quicker, easier and safer for everyone — from our longest ever opening hours through to digital queue busting solutions such as our new Pay with Me — now in over 200 stores. In these final few days we’re focused on delivering for our customers to help them make the most of their Christmas, however they might be celebrating.”

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