To help consumers scan and pay for their selections, U.K. supermarket company Sainsbury’s has opened a checkout-free store in Holborn Circus, London, where shoppers use a smartphone app when they shop at the store, CNBC reported.
When consumers shop at the store, they can scan their selections, make payments through an app and scan a quick-response (QR) code to confirm their payments. The tills and checkout area of the store have been removed, and a helpdesk was created to assist consumers who want to make cash or card payments.
Sainsbury’s Group Chief Digital Officer Clodagh Moriarty said, according to the report, “This is an experiment rather than a new format for us – it hasn’t been done in the U.K. before, and we’re really excited to understand how our customers respond to the app experience.” Moriarty continued, “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.”
The news comes as reports surfaced in April across a variety of financial news conduits, among them CNBC, that Amazon would add “additional payment mechanisms” to its Go stores – and among those would be cash. The apparent payments policy shift comes amid criticism that cashless retail discriminates against unbanked consumers.
And last fall, it was reported Amazon might open 3,000 Amazon Go locations by 2021. At the time, it was also reported the company launched an Amazon Go location in Chicago. That was the fourth Go location — and the first to open outside of Seattle, Amazon’s hometown. The first Amazon Go opened in 2018 in Seattle, where shoppers could make selections from a stock of sandwiches, snacks, meals and pre-made salads. Shelves are also stocked with meat, produce and Amazon meal kits.