Tesco has started a trial of a new app that allows customers to scan and pay for groceries using their smartphone and then leave the store without needing to use a checkout.
The supermarket giant is currently limiting the trial of the Scan Pay Go app with 100 of its Welwyn Garden City headquarters staff via a purpose-built Express convenience store on the site.
Tesco is not the first supermarket to trial cashierless initiative to improve its customer experience.
The Co-op already has a pay-in-the aisle technology available, while Sainsbury’s trial of a similar app to Scan Pay Go took place in 2017.
Meanwhile, Amazon has opened a checkout-free, automated grocery store in the US earlier this year, and there is a chance it could be brought over to the UK soon.
Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis said Scan Pay Go could be rolled out across its estate but the business needed to figure out how to ensure people would not walk out of stores without paying.
“The technology exists to do it but does the customer behaviour support it?” Lewis told the Guardian.
“If the margin is two-three per cent you don’t need to lose very much to make it unprofitable.”
Tesco convenience transformation director Steve Blair said the cashless trial was in response to changing shopper behaviour, citing statistics from some stores that show more than 80 per cent of customers were paying by card.
He added that the fact there would be no cash in-stores makes all 1800 Tesco Express stores less attractive to criminals.