Modern Marketing

Sainsbury’s follows in Amazon’s footsteps with checkout-free store

By John Glenday | Reporter

April 30, 2019 | 3 min read

Sainsbury’s is paving the way toward a cash-free society after launching Britain’s first till-free store on a three-month trial basis, with customers encouraged to pay for purchases via their smartphone.


Sainsbury’s follows in Amazon’s footsteps with till-free store

Instead of queuing at the checkout customers must install a proprietary Smartshop app to scan products as they place them in their basket. These can then be paid for at a bagging area using Google Pay or Apple Pay, scanning a code to confirm payment.

Customers looking to sate their vices will be left out in the cold however with all alcohol and tobacco products removed from sale to circumvent time-consuming manual age-verification checks by staff.

The Sainsbury’s Local outlet at London's Holborn Circus has been completely refurbished for the trial with the removal of all till infrastructure – although note and coin diehards will still be able to pay the old fashioned way if willing to queue at a helpdesk manned by a single member of staff.

Amazon first to embrace the till-free concept in Seattle back in January 2018 with its own bricks-and-mortar trailblazer, sparking consistent speculation that the Amazon Go format could reach the UK.

The Co-op, Tesco and Waitrose have all developed their own custom payment apps but haven’t yet cut the cash cord entirely.

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J Sainsbury plc, trading as Sainsbury's, is the second largest chain of supermarkets in the United Kingdom, with a 16.9% share of the supermarket sector in the United Kingdom.

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