Sainsbury’s is piloting a virtual queuing system to test whether the technology will help customers “stay safe, save time and shop conveniently” in stores.
The trial, which will run via the app ufirst, will be live in five stores from Monday (3 August) and is the first time this technology has been tested in the UK.
The supermarket said the new initiative is just one of the ways Sainsbury’s is innovating and investing in digital in response to the pandemic and changing customer shopping habits.
Sainsbury’s said: “Customers can download the app on their smartphone and join a virtual queue without needing to physically wait in line at the store.
“They can then monitor their position in the queue from the comfort of their car, home or local coffee shop and they will be notified when they are at the front. If a customer does not have a smartphone, colleagues can add the customer to the queue.”
The trial will run until mid-August and test how customers respond to such a solution, as well as how it supports colleagues to manage queues and the flow of customers in and out of stores.
It will also help Sainsbury’s respond quickly should such a proposition need to be implemented at short notice in the event of a local lockdown, or scaled up if government guidance changes.
Nigel Blunt, director of e-commerce at Sainsbury’s, said: “We’re always on the lookout for how we can make our customers’ lives easier using technology.
“We’re trialling a virtual queuing system which enables shoppers to hold their place in the queue using their smartphone and we will be listening closely to feedback from our customers and colleagues.”
Blunt added: “We’re also rolling out SmartShop Mobile Pay to even more convenience stores, offering customers fast and contactless shopping that will help them get in and out of the store even quicker”.