Supermarket Pioneers Mobile Self-Checkout In UK

by Raymond Pucci 0

While the Amazon Go store attracts the headlines, other merchants are adopting mobile self-checkout systems of their own. As the following article reports, UK supermarket Co-op is launching a mobile app that enables seamless payment and self-checkout for its customers.

The Co-op has become the UK’s first supermarket to introduce check-out free shopping. The firm’s no-queues policy means shoppers can simply pick up their groceries, scan them using an app on their phone and the walk out without queuing at either self-service till or staffed checkout.

The new initiative, dubbed ‘shop, scan and go’, will allow time-pressed customers to complete payments on their phones, without visiting a till, reports The Mirror. It’s currently being piloted at the Co-op’s retailer support centre store in Manchester, with a wider roll-out beginning this summer.

The scheme will allow customers to scan products on their own device as they walk around the store – known as a “frictionless shopping experience”.

When they have finished shopping, the amount they owe will then be deducted from their account with a single click. In a statement, the community retailer said it’s seen the number of cash transactions in its stores rapidly reduce over the past few years in favour of alternative – electronic – payment methods.

Statistically, cash transactions have dropped by more than one fifth over the last five years, with a 15% fall in usage in the past 18 months alone. Matthew Speight, at the Co-op, said: “It is a challenging market place for retailers, and the Co-op is responding positively.” It is all about consumer choices and convenience. We listen to our Members and customers and we are investing in our stores, people, prices, products and technology.

Elliott Goldenberg, at Mastercard UK, added: “We are bringing our online and mobile capability – Masterpass – into the physical store, and offering consumers who want a fast and frictionless buying experience, a secure and reliable way to pay.”

Mobile self-checkout has been operational at all Walmart Sam’s Clubs plus a growing number of its flagship stores. Scan and Go, as it’s called, has been successful as it provides a seamless payment as well as the convenience of not waiting in checkout lines. There is a monitor that checks receipts at the store exit. Amazon Go does not have exit monitors because its technology is more sophisticated (and costly) and basically captures shoppers’ every movement. Mobile self-checkout is here to stay—the key question is what retailers will want to spend on these systems and how it impacts their ability to capture a higher volume of profitable business.

Overview by Raymond Pucci, Associate Director, Research Services at Mercator Advisory Group

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