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Tesco joins Amazon and Microsoft ‘checkout-free’ war

Tesco has announced it is trialling new till-free technology as it looks to take on Amazon and Microsoft, which have also been carrying out checkout-free tests.

The British supermarket has been trialing the equipment in its Welwyn Garden City branch where its head office is based. The new technology allows shoppers to scan items with their smartphones as they browse the store and walk out without visiting the till.

As many as 100 Staff at the Welwyn store have been given the Scan Pay Go app to test the checkout-free technology.

Tesco CEO Dave Lewis hasn’t ruled out rolling out the technology across all stores, however he asked “does the customer behaviour support it?” whilst speaking to journalists yesterday, and expressed concern about whether customers would simply walk out without paying.

Many physical retailers are investing in till-free technology as they look to keep pace with big online retailers such as Amazon. Sainsbury’s ran a similar test last year and the Co-op has already introduced pay-in-the-aisle technology in some stores.

As well as speeding up the queue, checkout-free technology is thought to make stores less attractive to criminals – the trial store is currently cashless. Tesco convenience transformation director Steve Blair said: “There are a significant amount of robberies in Express stores every week.”

The current trial will allow shoppers to either pay on their phone and avoid the checkout altogether or to take their phone to a modern checkout where they can enter the items from the phone and then pay on card.

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