Sainsbury’s roll-out of the first till-free convenience store in the UK and is a major win for the company, making it one of the most technologically pioneering retailers in Britain.
This is set against the backdrop of a failed merger with ASDA, after the CMA ruled last week that the merger would leave British consumers worse off.
Consequently, Sainsbury’s share price has fallen to an all-time historic low. Indeed, Sainsbury’s CEO Mike Coupe will be hoping this can turn the tide following the disappointing failure to secure the merger with ASDA.
Sainsbury’s till-free store in Holborn will be operating under a three-month trial period.
This is to gather customer feedback and determine whether this could be the beginning of a wider UK roll-out, a revolutionary feat in UK retail. Employing the Scan Pay & Go technology, consumers use a smartphone app to scan product QR codes to pay as they shop. With automated checkouts accounting for 82% of the store’s sales in 2018, it also represents a natural progression in streamlining the checkout process. If this succeeds, automated checkout tills risk becoming increasingly obsolete like their manned counterparts.
Nevertheless, obstacles to implementation persist. This can be seen in Amazon’s roll-out of its Amazon Go till-free store in Seattle last year. A pressing issue was that the scan-and-go checkout made it much easier for customers to put products into their bags and walk out without scanning them.
Nevertheless, Sainsbury’s chief digital officer Clodagh Moriarty has quelled concerns by stating that the cameras and increased presence of security guards would act as a deterrent.
Ultimately, this represents a revolution in the UK retail industry. Whilst some issues exist, the technology is ripe for national roll-out and Sainsbury’s will want to be seen as leading the way in taking British retail into the future.