UK retailer Co-op is trialling a new system that allows customers to scan their own products as they shop and complete purchases via a mobile app, without going through a checkout.
The 'scan and go' system is currently being trialled at the Co-op's support-centre store in Manchester, with a wider roll-out potentially planned for this summer.
The retailer says that this new technology will provide more payment options for customers and allow them to avoid queues in its stores.
“It is a challenging marketplace for retailers, and the Co-op is responding positively," said Matthew Speight, director of retail support at the Co-op.
"Our ambition is to harness technology to deliver the shopping experience that our diverse customer base requires, when, where and how they need it," Speight added.
The Co-op's new system will use a mobile app with Mastercard payment technology.
Customers scan groceries with their own mobile device as they walk around the store, and when they have finished shopping, the amount they owe will be deducted from their account with a single click.
The Co-op says that cash-free payment methods are becoming increasingly popular in its stores, with cash transactions falling by more than one fifth over the last five years, and by 15% in the last 18 months alone.
“Technology is bringing unprecedented change to retailing right before our eyes, however, the challenge for all of us who play a part in the retail experience is meeting the needs of all consumers who are moving at different speeds in the adoption of technology,” said Elliott Goldenberg, head of digital payments at Mastercard UK.
“With the Co-op, we are bringing our online and mobile capability – Masterpass – into the physical store and offering consumers who want a fast and frictionless buying experience a secure and reliable way to pay," Goldenberg added.
Of course, the main player to watch in this area is online retail giant Amazon, which finally opened its entirely checkout-free supermarket concept, Amazon Go, in Seattle earlier this year.
In the UK, Sainsbury's is the only major supermarket to have tested a checkout-free system, with a trial at its Euston Station store in London last year, however, this was limited to customers purchasing a meal deal of three items, making the Co-op the first grocer in the country to put a large-scale trial in place.
The next location that is expected to see the introduction of the scan-and-go technology is the Co-op's store at the Microsoft UK headquarters, in Reading.
© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Sarah Harford. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.