Tesco is testing new “and” technology, which allows shoppers to scan and pay for their purchases on a smartphone, and then leave the store without visiting the cash register.
The retailer uses the staff in its headquarters and trade garden city as Guinea pigs for the service in a purpose-built Express store on the site. Tesco has installed the app, scan the pay the go on mobile phones of the 100 employees who can use it to scan barcodes and then pay for their purchases.
Traditional brick-and-mortar retailers are investing in new technologies, as they attempt to keep pace with online rival Amazon, which opened an automated store in the USA earlier this year. The co-op has already introduced a paid-in-technology passage, while Sainsbury’s was testing a similar application in 2017.
Tesco chief Executive Dave Lewis, said that the technology can be deployed throughout a network of supermarkets, but there are important aspects that must be considered, including whether people would just leave without paying.
“The technology exists to do this, but the client behaviour support him?”, Lewis said. “If the margin is 2% -3% you don’t need very much to lose to make it unprofitable.”
Although these initiatives may mark the beginning of the end for the supermarket checkout – stoking fears that automation may eventually eliminate millions of jobs – they were seen to be attractive for time-pressed customers who are often busy city centre stores.
“In our stores in Central London, Manchester and Birmingham, the queue at lunchtime is a problem,” said Lewis. “All we can do to accelerate that will be a benefit for customers.”
Express store is also used to test how buyers cope in what is fast becoming a cashless world. Debit cards currently outperform cash as the most popular form of transaction in the UK for the first time, according to the latest banking industry.
Customers use their debit cards 13.2 billion times last year, an increase of 14% compared with 2016, the report said British Finance, the trade body for UK banking and financial services sector. The number of cash transactions decreased by 15% to 13.1 billion in the same period.
On a shelf in Welwyn store only accepts card or other types of electronic payments. Cutting out the visit to means that tesco can halve the time required for customers to pay and leave the store in just 45 seconds.
Steve Blair, the ease of transformation Director of the retailer, said cashless court was a response to changing consumer behavior as some shops over 80% of the pay card.
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Blair said that the seller was activates a circuit to Express a number of initiatives designed to make the stores more attractive. “Express environment have not been updated for some time,” he said.
Tesco started to play background music in 30 stores with playlists tailored to the age profile of each output buyers. He also added juice bars who are fighting with bananas as the best-selling product in the updated stores.
The removal of cash also to make the 1,800 Tesco Express stores less attractive to criminals. “There are a significant number of robberies in the stores every week,” said Blair.