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What Sainsbury’s has learned from the trial of its first till-free store

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Sainsbury’s says that three months of testing the UK’s first till-free store has shown it that not all of its customers are ready to do away with the cash desk altogether.

It is re-introducing a till and two self-checkouts back into the Holborn Circus food-to-go store that it had previously made till-free for the trial, which ran from April. The trial, part of the supermarket’s strategy of changing the way that customers can buy in order to fit in with their changing lives and shopping habits, saw customers use a SmartShop app to scan and pay for items with their phone, removing the need to queue at a till.

But Sainsbury’s says that many of its customers were keen to check out the new way of shopping and are now choosing to download and use the SmartShop app – and they will still be able to use it in this and other stores.

“Take-up was as we had expected – at peak times better than we’d expected – and it’s clear that not all our customers are ready for a totally till-free store,” the supermarket said in a blog. “Some customers preferred to pay with cash and card, which sometimes meant they were queuing to use the helpdesk, particularly at peak times of day. This is why we’ve added a manned till and two self-checkouts back into the store so those looking to pay by cash and card can do so quickly and conveniently. We want to be the most inclusive retailer where people love to work and shop, so it’s really important to us that our customers can pay how they want to.”

Other changes made as a result of the trial included redefining and re-locating the QR codes that customers scan when they leave the store. Sainsbury’s has also simplified the process of enabling shoppers to download the app, creating a one-step process that includes signing-up for in-store wifi.

Image courtesy of Sainsbury’s

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