Several UK supermarket chains have been trialling checkout-free stores, and Aldi has joined the fray by opening its first on Greenwich High Street in London.
The Aldi Shop&Go concept store was unveiled on Tuesday morning, with customers picking up their items and walking out the doors with having to enter a queue. The Shop&Go app tracked all of their products through cameras placed strategically by provider AiFi.
“Today is the culmination of months of work, not least from the team here in Greenwich and I’m looking forward to seeing how customers react to our trial,” said Giles Hurley, CEO of Aldi UK and Ireland. “The team are really excited about seeing customers come in and experience Aldi Shop&Go.”
Tesco unveiled its first checkout-free store in London at High Holborn in late October through a partnership with Trigo. Using its Get Go technology, customers first check in through the app at the store entrance. Cameras and weight-sensors then establish the items that customers have selected and charge them through the app when they exit the supermarket. Tesco says the technology does not track facial recognition but only body movements, and none of the data is saved or stored.
In early December, Sainsbury’s implemented similar technology called Just Walk out from Amazon in its Holborn Circus convenience store to allow shoppers to pick their products and leave with no self-service scanners or checkout lanes. Customers taking advantage of the newest tech piece simply scan a QR code using their SmartShop app (linked to a credit or debt card) when the enter the supermarket. Just Walk Out then instantly tallies whatever items the customer selects. If they put the item back, the balance reflects that. When they exit the store, they just need to scan the QR code and they are charged. A receipt will be emailed to them.
The amazing technology installed by Aldi can use facial age estimation to authorize alcohol purchases, though the supermarket is allowing those who don’t want to use it to have their ages checked by a colleague.
“We have been working towards this day for several months now so it will be great to see how our customers react to the new technology,” said store manager Lewis Esparon. “For us, steps like this are always about improving the customer experience and the whole team are looking forward to being on-hand and ready to help to ensure that experience is as smooth as ever.”