Shop and go | Breakthrough Funding

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Shop and go

Sainsbury’s is trialling a ‘till-free’ store where you can scan and pay with an app

When Amazon opened a shop with no checkouts in Seattle earlier this year, it marked a serious new development in retail. Those in the know guessed that it wouldn’t be long before the smartphone took over our high street shopping habits, as well as our online spending, but the cash-free movement seems to be moving at an even faster pace than anticipated.

In a bid to cut down on both queues and hardware, a London branch of Sainsbury’s Local is trialling the SmartShop app. Already available in nearly 70 stores, the app allows shoppers to scan their purchases as they collect them to save time at the checkout. But at the Clapham North store, customers can now put the items directly into their own bag and pay for their shopping with their smartphone as well.

It’s as close to simply walking in and walking out as shopping is likely to get. Security presents the most obvious challenge – Sainsbury’s says that staff will still be on hand to remove security tags, plus alcohol cannot currently be bought with SmartShop. Customers have to scan a QR code by the exit, which confirms their purchases. Presumably, anyone trying to nick anything would be caught out when they attempted to take their contraband through the security detectors.

However, although Sainsbury’s insist that 99% of its customers are honest, they have confirmed that CCTV cameras and security guards will be paying close attention to the Clapham North store for a while…

Are you working on technology to make routine daily chores like shopping easier, faster or more secure? Get in touch on 0800 772 0800 and tell us about your innovation – we could feature you in a future issue of Breakthrough Magazine or even help you get some cash back through the R&D tax credit scheme.

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