Sainsbury’s launches UK’s first till-free grocery store

Sainsbury’s Holborn Circus Local store in London has been refurbished to be mobile-first and check-out free.

Described as the UK’s first till-free grocery store, the retailer said the experiment will ‘put SmartShop Scan, Pay & Go technology to the test in a bespoke food-to-go store, making grocery shopping quicker and more convenient’.

The experiment will last for three months and customer feedback will help Sainsbury’s develop the SmartShop Scan, Pay & Go app further before rolling it out more widely.

The supermarket chain said: ‘All customers scan and pay for their groceries using the SmartShop Scan, Pay & Go app which they download on their smartphones. They scan their groceries as they go round the store, pay in the app and scan a QR code before leaving which reassures them that they have paid, with no need to queue or pay at a till.

‘The store has been refurbished to remove the checkout area and tills. This frees up store colleagues to spend their time on the shop floor, helping customers and keeping shelves fully stocked.’ The store will have a helpdesk to support anyone who wishes to pay with cash or cards. Currently, 82% of transactions in this store are cashless.

The range of products available at the store has been tailored specifically for busy customers buying breakfast or lunch and other food to eat on-the-go. In addition to ready-to-eat products, including drinks, snacks, breakfast pots, freshly baked pastries and sandwiches that can easily and quickly be picked up, scanned and paid for, the store also offers a self-service coffee machine for hot drinks to go.

The Holborn Circus till-free store experiment builds on the success of Sainsbury’s SmartShop Scan, Pay & Go app. Sainsbury’s claims it was the first UK supermarket to bring in-app mobile payments to customers in a grocery store – in August last year – and the technology is currently live in eight convenience stores across London.

Sainsbury’s Group chief digital officer Clodagh Moriarty said: “We know our customers value their time and many want to shop as quickly as possible – technology is key to that. This is an experiment rather than a new format for us. It hasn’t been done in the UK before and we’re really excited to understand how our customers respond to the app experience. We’ll be with our customers and colleagues all the way over the coming months, iterating continuously based on their feedback before we decide if, how and where we make this experience more widely available.”

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