Sainsbury’s opens UK’s first till-free store

British supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has launched the UK’s first checkout-free grocery store.

The pilot store, located at Holborn Circus in London, has been refurbished to remove the checkout area and tills and is being used to help develop the company’s ‘SmartShop Scan, Pay & Go technology.

The experiment, which will last for three months, will put its new solution to the test in what the firm described  as a “bespoke food-to-go store” in an effort to make shopping quicker and more convenient.

Sainsbury’s Group chief digital officer, Clodagh Moriarty, said: “We know our customers value their time and many want to shop as quickly as possible – technology is key to that.

“This is an experiment rather than a new format for us – it hasn’t been done in the UK before and we’re really excited to understand how our customers respond to the app experience.”

Sainsbury’s said it will use customer feedback to continue in developing the SmartShop Scan, Pay & Go app further before being rolled out more widely.

Using an app, customers will be able to scan and pay for their groceries using the SmartShop Scan – scanning groceries as they go round the store.

Customers pay within the app and scan a QR code before leaving which reassures them that they have paid, removing the need to queue or pay at a till.

The range of products available at the store has been tailored specifically for busy consumers buying breakfast, lunch, hot drinks and other food to eat on-the-go.

The Holborn Circus till-free store experiment builds on the success of Sainsbury’s SmartShop Scan, Pay & Go app, which was launched in August last year, and the technology is currently live in eight stores across London.

Moriarty concluded: “We’ll be with our customers and colleagues all the way over the coming months, iterating continuously based on their feedback before we decide if, how and where we make this experience more widely available.”

Earlier in the year, Amazon secured retail space in central London to open its cashless concept store ‘Amazon Go’.