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Tesco spin-off Jack’s opens its doors with free mobile ‘Smart Shop’ app

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Low-cost Tesco spin-off Jack’s will differentiate itself from Aldi and Lidl by offering shoppers a complimentary Smart Shop app that will allow them to scan and pay for goods on the fly.

Jack’s – named after Tesco founder Jack Cohen and pledging to offer the lowest possible prices and with eight out of 10 of its products UK sourced – is also upping the ante in the discount supermarket space with the use of an app to enhance in-store experience.

With the app, shoppers can scan the items barcode or shelf-front price code and then pay by simply tapping their phone on a self-service checkout terminal before leaving. The app also helps the shopper log what they have bought and how much they have paid.

The tech builds on Tesco’s wider plans to roll out Scan and Go technology in its main stores. This summer the retailer started trials of itsScan Pay Go smartphone app in its Express convenience store at its own Welwyn Garden City HQ. The retailer is using 100 staff members to test the app’s utility in the purpose-built brick-and-mortar store. Tesco says that the Express store is also being used to examine shoppers’ reaction to the cashless world.

The Tesco chief executive, Dave Lewis said at the trials launch in July that the new technology is a quantum leap that could be launched across the retailer’s chain. However, there are some technical issues to consider, not least whether people would simply leave the store without paying for an item.

These issues appear to have been overcome to the extent that similar tech is being used in Jack’s.

“The technology exists to do it, but does the customer behaviour support it?” says 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.”

The move marks a continuation of the checkout-less trend that was initially introduced by Amazon Go store in SeattleSainsbury’sCo-op, and Budgens in the UK and MediaMarktSaturn in Austria have also jumped on this bandwagon as they attempt to engage customers with new tech and deliver faster shopping experiences.

The latter has also this week announced plans for a cashierless payments in its Hamburg store over the Christmas season, following the successful pilot in Austria.

The Mönckebergstrasse Saturn outlet will allow customers to buy 100,000 products using the SATURN Smartpay app, which can be downloaded through the iOS and Android app stores.

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