Australian Newsagency Blog

A blog on issues affecting Australia's newsagents, media and small business generally.

UK supermarket’s register-free shop experiment brings back the register

Mark Fletcher
September 14th, 2019 · 2 Comments

The experiment by UK supermarket group Sainsbury’s of register-less retail has resulted in the return of the register the company has announced.

Back in April, we trialled the UK’s first till-free grocery store. The three-month experiment put our SmartShop Scan, Pay & Go technology to the test in a bespoke food-to-go store.

We know our customers’ lives are changing and so too are their shopping habits. We’re changing with them to make sure they can shop whenever, wherever and however they want. We know our customers value their time and many want to shop as quickly as possible. Developing and testing new technology is key to making sure we’re bringing our customers the very best shopping experience.

Our SmartShop app – where customers can scan and pay with their phone with no need to queue or pay at a till – was already live in eight convenience stores. An experiment, rather than a new format for us, we wanted to put the technology to the test in a till-free environment to understand how our customers respond to the experience.

The experiment created excitement amongst customers, with many keen to check out the store, download the app and test out this way of shopping. Lots of customers loved how quick and simple the SmartShop app is to use and many are choosing to shop this way regularly.

We’ve listened closely to feedback, learning and adapting the experience along the way. For example, some customers found the QR codes when leaving the store could have been easier to scan, so we designed new ones and adjusted how they were placed in store. While most customers are happy to use their mobile data to download our app and shop, many signing up to use the store Wi-Fi found the journey took a little long, so we changed it to a one-step process.

The only place I am seeing register-less retail working and growing currently is the Amazon Go model. I have seen five of their stores and each was busy with real customers.


Category: retail

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Colin // Sep 14, 2019 at 7:11 PM


    Lots of long wordy posts big on advice. New approach ?


  • 2 Mark Fletcher // Sep 14, 2019 at 10:23 PM

    No, Colin. There are many posts here that are long, 350+ words, with plenty of advice.


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