Aldi Tests Checkout-Free Store in London

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U.K. supermarket group Aldi is trying out a checkout-free store in London that lets customers walk out with their goods without ever having to pay a cashier by using a smartphone app to enter, grab whatever they need and have their cards charged as they leave the store.

Aldi is testing the checkout-free store with employees and will try it out with the public at some point, according to a report in The Daily Mail on Monday (Sept. 20).

“We are always looking to redefine what it means to be a discount retailer, and the technology involved in this trial will give us a wealth of learnings,” Giles Hurley, chief executive officer for Aldi UK and Ireland, said.

“We are really excited to be testing this concept that will enable customers to pick from our range of quality products, all available at unbeatable prices, then leave the store without having to pay at a till,” he added.

Last year, Aldi rolled out click-and-collect services and has since added it to more than 200 U.K. stores.

Related: UK Supermarkets Adopt Automated Solutions to Combat Labor Shortage

PYMNTS’ “Today’s Self-Service Shopping Journey: The New Retail Expectation,” a research study created in collaboration with Toshiba, shows that one-third of grocery customers used self-checkout options for their most recent in-store purchases.

“It’s clear that users prefer to have a contactless experience,” Ariel Shemesh, co-founder and CEO of retail computer vision provider KanduAI. “Self-checkout definitely got a lot of users who used to go to the cashiers, and they didn’t really mind waiting in line, but they got acquainted with this technology and now they basically demand it.”

Beth Flippo, chief technology officer for Drone Express, told PYMNTS that automated technologies can allow grocers to adjust to the trend of consumers placing smaller orders more frequently, a shift that could exacerbate the labor challenges of delivery.

“Most people in the country … are buying food in smaller quantities at a higher frequency,” she said. “People buy throughout the week, there’s a lot less waste, and they buy what they need, when they want it.”