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Sainsbury’s pilots in-store mobile checkout app as part of ‘mission based’ store overhaul

Sainsbury’s has created a mobile app to help its in-store shoppers find items quickly and check out via the app. 

Dubbed ‘SmartShop’ it enables customers to scan in shopping lists at home. Once they get to store, the app will show a map locating their chosen items around the store and they will pay via their mobile phone.

It’s still in trial phase at six of Sainsbury’s stores as part of a wider overhaul of the design and layout to attract “a new generation of customers,” according the supermarket’s boss Mike Coupe. Coupe anounced the plans earlier this year but details have since been vague. 

Today, it revealed that is has tested a ‘mission-based’ layout for convenience stores which has seen a new ‘Food to Go’ section brought to the front next to the checkouts, alongside its fresh bakery products. It has also simplified ranges in areas such as canned, packaged and household to remove duplication and help customers make decisions more quickly. However, it is not yet known which brands will be removed in the long-term.

Sainsbury’s is also dedicating more space in these stores to its Tu clothing range along with kitchen, homeware items, mobile phones and tablets. The amount of space given to non-food in these trial stores has increased by around 30 per cent.

Coupe explained: “The majority of people still do most of their shopping in supermarkets and that’s a trend that will continue, but we need to make our supermarkets more convenient for people who visit often to do a smaller shop. This trial is about seeing how far we can go in catering for every shopping mission, whether someone wants to pop in quickly to buy a sandwich for lunch, or whether they have more time and want inspiration for the home, or advice on tech and gadgets.”

The pilot stores will act as a barometer for feedback before being introduced across the business. Although, Coupe said certain elements are already proving very popular and it hopes to roll those out more widely where feedback is consistently positive.

The grocer so far is, marginally, bucking the trend of declining sales across the industry. The supermarket was the only one its peers to see sales growth for the 12 weeks ending 11 October 2015, according to Kantar Worldpanel, thanks to a strong performance in its online and Local stores offering. It’s also managing to hang on to its share of the market while Aldi and Lidl encroach on Tesco, Morrisons and Asda.

It amounts to the supermarket “doing a bit better than expected,” Coupe told analysts on an earnings call last month (30 September). 

Featured by The Drum