Retailers begin trialling checkout-free shops

With recent developments in technology, it isn’t hard to believe that we’re moving towards a world where we can pay for in-store shopping on our smartphones. Waitrose have had the technology for years that enables customers to scan their shopping as they go for a simpler checkout process, but now retailers are taking it even further.

Sainsbury’s trials speedy shopping app

Sainsbury’s is currently trialling an app exclusively available to shoppers in London’s Euston station. If you want to buy an ‘On the Go’ meal deal and have the app, there’s no need to visit the checkout. The app gives you the ability to scan the barcodes on the products yourself, adds them to a shopping basket and lets you pay through your phone. Then you can simply walk out of the store! Ideal if you’re on a tight lunch break and have no time for queues.

This is by no means the finished product and is not likely to be rolled out fully. According to Sainsbury’s Head of Customer Experience Natalie Dunn, the app is a way to “understand how we can take the concept and develop an offering that is genuinely useful.”

Amazon Go causes a stir

Amazon are not a company that are ever far behind the curve. They are currently trialling an entirely checkout-free store in Seattle, USA. Like Sainsbury’s, they ask customers to download an app which will take a record of your shopping choices. But the Amazon experience is an altogether different one – when you enter the store you’re asked to open the app, but once inside you can put your phone away and go about your shopping. No scanning required.

Inside the Amazon Go checkout-free store in Seattle, USA

They call it: ‘Just Walk Out’ shopping. A bank of cameras follow your movements inside and keep track of your items in a virtual cart. When you leave the store, your Amazon account is debited and you’re sent a receipt. Hassle free!

Amazon Go Seattle store

What does this mean for retail jobs?

Let’s get things straight – I don’t think this new technology is a massive threat to people working in retail. For every person who adopts these new gadgets and gizmos, there are another 5 who don’t. Checkouts will never completely disappear from our shops.

But that being said, it provides a great alternative for the people who are in a hurry or do want to shop this way.

What do you think of these high-tech stores? Have you tried the Sainsbury’s app? Let us know in the comments below.