Sainsbury’s has joined a growing list of supermarket retailers trialling scan and go technology to remove the checkout from the shopping journey.
Using the Sainsbury’s SmartShop app, shoppers at Sainsbury’s Clapham North Station store in South London can now scan the goods they want and leave, paying for what they have scanned via Apple Pay in the app.
Customers can already use SmartShop in 68 Sainsbury’s supermarkets, but the ‘scan, pay & go’ trial in Clapham will take this technology to the next level, says the retailer. Instead of paying for your shopping at a designated till point, Clapham customers can pay for their basket even faster and from anywhere in the store.
SmartShop is growing in popularity with Sainsbury’s customers – there are over 100,000 SmartShop transactions and between 3,000 and 4,000 new customer registrations every week.
Sainsbury’s Group Chief Digital Officer, Clodagh Moriarty, explains why it has followed suit: “Technology and changing customer shopping habits have transformed the way people buy their groceries. Our teams are constantly working hard to bring new convenient shopping experiences to customers and we’re delighted to be the first grocery retailer in the UK to offer customers the ability to shop checkout-free. The latest version of SmartShop, with its new payment feature, will make it super quick for customers to get in and out of the store for those that want to scan, pay and go."
But the jury is still out as to whether all shoppers really want to use this sort of technology. As part of its trial, Tesco has been looking at what shoppers think of the tech.
“The technology exists to do it, but does the customer behaviour support it?" says Tesco chief executive, Dave Lewis. "If the margin is 2-3%, you don’t need to lose very much to make it unprofitable. In our stores in central London, Manchester and Birmingham, lunchtime queues are a problem. Anything we can do to speed that up will be a benefit for customers.”
Similarly, Paysafe has studied 5000 shoppers in UK, US, Canada, Germany, and Austria and finds a mixed picture. 56% of global respondents saying that the concept of a checkout-free store sounded "too risky" to use, or that they would need to know a lot more about it before feeling comfortable using it. On the other hand, only 11% report that they "would definitely" shop this way if local stores offered it.
In addition to paying in the SmartShop app, the store in Clapham will also have both self-serve checkouts and manned checkouts, for customers who might prefer to pay at a till. Sainsbury’s will use customer feedback from Clapham to develop and improve the experience before testing the technology in different store types and locations to learn more over the coming months.
The SmartShop scan, pay & go app was developed in-house by a team of experts whose mission is helping customers save time and shop conveniently. It follows extensive research, development and user testing, including a trial at Sainsbury’s convenience store in Euston train station which allowed customers to use the SmartShop app to scan and pay for the three items making up a lunchtime meal deal.
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