Tesco opens first “just walk out” store to take on Amazon

Tesco
Weight sensors in the shelves work with an AI system that can track an individual’s movement around the store

Tesco has opened its first “just walk out” store, giving customers the chance to buy groceries without having to scan items or visit a till.

The supermarket’s GetGo store has opened in Holborn, central London, and follows a small trial of a similar store at Tesco head office in Welwyn Garden City.

Weight sensors in the shelves work with an AI system that can track an individual’s movement around the store and monitor the items they pick up via cameras, which follow each shopper.

READ MORE: Tesco trials new alcohol security feature ahead of Christmas to clamp down on theft

The AI system works by building a unique skeleton outline of each person rather than using facial recognition.

Shoppers must download the Tesco.com app to use the store, where they check in by scanning a QR code generated on their phone.

Once inside, shoppers can pick up the items they want without scanning them. The bill is automatically charged to a shopper’s Tesco account when they leave.

Cigarettes and alcohol are sold in a separate zone where a member of staff, about a dozen of whom are on duty on any day, is present to check that shoppers meet age restrictions.

The AI technology in the Holborn store has been developed in partnership with the specialist technology firm Trigo.

Tesco GetGo opens just over six months after Amazon launched its first till-less grocery store in the UK, in Ealing, west London.

Sainsbury’s opened a till-free store nearby in 2019, but the outlet closed a few months later.

“We are constantly looking for ways to improve the shopping experience and our latest innovation offers a seamless checkout for customers on the go, helping them to save a bit more time,” Tesco’s convenience store business managing director, Kevin Tindall said.

“This is currently just a one-store trial but we’re looking forward to seeing how our customers respond.”

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