No scanning, no cashiers, no cards: Grocery shopping at London’s new checkout-free Tesco
Over a year of pandemic-induced online shopping habits have accustomed us to seamless digital payments and quick, smooth purchases at checkouts. As consumers continue to chase that same agility in the physical world too, and merchants join the race to offer contact-free checkout experiences, the trend is now expanding to brick and mortar shops. Recently British groceries retailer Tesco opened its first checkout-free, cashier-less store in London, which allows customers to simply walk away with their groceries without having to scan their products or deal with the payment.
How does it work?
The technology behind it consists of a combination of cameras and weight-sensors able to establish which products customers have picked up, charging them directly through the Tesco app when they leave the store. After opening an account on the Tesco Groceries app and linking a preferred payment method to it, the check-in is quite easy. The app generates a unique QR code that customers have to scan at the automatic gates at the entrance to access the store.
What is it like inside?
An efficient system of cameras and very refined weight-sensors are monitoring all your moves and tracking the items of choice on the app. Staff is waiting at the entrance and telling the customers to just leave by using the automatic entrance. After walking out the customers receive a notification on their devices announcing the successful grocery shopping trip and the amount paid.
A receipt is sent to the provided email address, while the items bought can be reviewed on the app and even saved as favourites or «usuals». If the system made a mistake, it’s possible to submit a complaint and get reimbursed for the mistake. The app also records accumulated points on your ClubCard, Tesco’s fidelity card linked to the account, and automatically applies special promotions at the time of the virtual checkout.
You can definitely save a lot of time compared to traditional stores with long queues at the tills. It would be an optimal choice for customers on the go, but only after it truly becomes mainstream and becomes replicated on a larger scale. The impression is that most people are yet to understand what the Tesco GetGo experience is about as, while there, many ask for information at the door and only a few actually walk in, probably mostly for the sake of a novel, unusual shopping experience.
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