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Tesco is following in the footsteps of Amazon as it opens its first checkout-less store. Although it is only available in one branch so far, the new checkout system will be rolled out to other stores if successful.
Tesco’s first “just walk out” store opened to the public this week.
The supermarket’s High Holborn branch, which is a Tesco Express in central London, underwent refurbishment in recent months.
Now, the store has reopened and slightly changed.
The biggest changes include new pay gates and a host of cameras installed in the ceiling.
This new technology was put in place by Trigo, a company who specialises in tech-powered grocery stores, following the same concept as Amazon Go’s till-less shops.
Like at Amazon’s physical stores in the capital, High Holborn’s Tesco Express will now enable customers to scan a smartphone app on entry to the store, which will automatically bill them as they leave.
This means customers will not need to queue at a till after they finish their shopping.
The cameras on the ceiling, as well as the depth-sensors, help to register what people choose to place in their bag for purchasing.
This technology can also tell when someone has put an item back on the shelf if they change their mind about buying it.
Customers will be automatically billed as they will have set up an account via a smartphone app before entering the store.
Then, a receipt will be emailed to them.
On its website, Trigo describes its checkout-less stores as “no queues, no lines, zero waiting, just seamless shopping”.
Unlike Amazon Go, Trigo doesn’t tie itself to only one company or supermarket, but this is not the first time it has partnered with Tesco.
The food retailer opened a trial Trigo tech-powered store for its staff at its headquarters in Welwyn Garden City in 2018.
Speaking earlier this year, Tesco’s Chief Executive Ken Murphy said that the company would be extending the trial “to another store to check it in a more urban environment”.
He added: “One of the joys of machine learning is it is continuously improving, so we’re feeling confident that we can put it into another store with higher traffic.”
Although the technology has been put in place in the High Holborn Tesco Express, it has not yet been switched on.
It is not clear yet when it will be available for customers to use.
This news comes as supermarkets across the UK are increasingly opting for different checkout systems.
Amazon Fresh has recently opened its fifth till-less store in London, while popular supermarkets such as Tesco, Asda, and Lidl have all launched schemes where customers can scan their items on a smartphone app as they shop, before paying for them.
However, not everyone is impressed with supermarkets’ new technology.
Some Britons have taken to social media to criticise Lidl’s latest checkout system, calling it “soulless” as it does not involve speaking to a member of staff.
One person said: “Lidl is the latest to go staffless, cashless, and soulless.”
Another person said: “I will boycott any shop that goes automated.”
One person commented: “No thanks. Prefer speaking to humans.”
Another person added: “Great, now we’re supposed to do their work for them. Hope they don’t expect us to restock the shelves and clean up spills.”
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