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

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Sainsbury’s has opened its first branch without tills, asking customers instead to pay with their smartphone.

Shoppers in the Holborn Circus branch can simply walk out of the store, having scanned their shopping with the Sainsbury’s Smartshop app.

They can then bag their items themselves and, when they’re done, pay for them with Google Pay or Apple Pay through their handset.

The three-month trial comes shortly after the launch of Amazon’s Go convenience store in Seattle, in which the retailer uses a network of cameras and sensors around the store to track what customers are putting in their baskets. Payment is then taken from the shoppers’ debit cards as they exit.

In the revamped Sainsbury’s, other changes have been made to the store to reduce the number of staff required to complete transactions. Alcohol has been removed, for example, in order to remove the need for manual age verification.

Commenting on the launch, Sainsbury’s group chief digital officer Clodagh Moriarty told the Guardian: “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.”

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