Advertisement

Here's why 'till-free' supermarkets could soon be the future of grocery shopping

Tesco has opened its first checkout-free supermarket in the UK.
Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

21.08 19 Oct 2021


Share this article


Here's why 'till-free' superma...

Here's why 'till-free' supermarkets could soon be the future of grocery shopping

Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

21.08 19 Oct 2021


Share this article


Paying for your shopping at a till could be a thing of the past in the not-so-distant future.

In the UK, Tesco today opened its first checkout-free store in Holborn in London.

The shop's ‘GetGo’ system allows customers to simply check in to the store using the supermarket chain’s app, pick up what they need, and leave without having to stop at a checkout.

Advertisement

Tesco says this is achieved using a “combination of cameras and weight-sensors” to detect what a customer has bought, and then charges them directly through the app once they leave the shop.

The supermarket chain isn’t alone, as Amazon Fresh offers similar checkout-free stores in the US and more recently in the UK.

Aldi UK has also started experimenting with this 'no checkout' technology, while Sainsbury's trialled its first till-free store two years ago.

On The Hard Shoulder, Conor Pope - Irish Times Price Watch Editor - says “this is the world we’re going to be living in”.

He observed: “I don’t know if it will be this year and next year, but it is going to happen.

“It seems really alien to us now, but it’s going to be the future.

"We don’t know when it’s going to happen, but the reality is almost all of the human interactions people get in the retail space will be taken away.”

Tesco checkout-free store Supermarket chain TESCO opens Just Walk Out, checkout-less branch in Holborn. Credit: ZUMA Press, Inc./Alamy Live News

He explained the new Tesco system works similarly to automated checkouts, which weigh items to ensure the customer has scanned the correct one.

However, in this case a customer is 'surreptitiously' weighed while entering and leaving the store - ensuring the weight of the items they leave with matches what cameras have captured them picking up.

Conor says there will be real advantages for consumers, including an end to queuing in supermarkets - something that could make shopping much quicker.

Despite those benefits, however, Conor says this type of technology does bring up moral and ethical concerns as well.

He observed: “This is yet another sign of automation replacing the jobs that human beings do.

“What about all of the staff who work in your local Tesco? We run down the road of a fully-automated, artificial intelligence-driven society at our peril - these things do come with consequences.”

He said there’s already a dramatic decrease in the number of retail staff in many stores, and “you can’t hold back the tide of progress”.

However, he noted how working in a shop is an “incredibly meaningful” job - pointing to the invaluable services shop assistants provided when the pandemic hit last year.

Main image: Staff at the Tesco GetGo store in Holborn, London. Picture by: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire/PA Images

Share this article


Read more about

Conor Pope Consumer Shopping Technology Tesco

Most Popular

Live: Title

Now playing

00:00:00 / 00:00:00
Added to queue
Removed from queue

On Air

Share

Share


Up next

Episode title
Show
Duration

You currently have no podcasts in your queue.

Go to podcasts

On Air

Soundscape

Soundscape

20:00-21:00

Share

Up next

FUTUREPROOF WITH JONATHAN MCCR...

FUTUREPROOF WITH JONATHAN MCCREA

21:00-22:00

Share

THE TOM DUNNE SHOW

THE TOM DUNNE SHOW

22:00-00:00

Share

BEST OF NEWSTALK

BEST OF NEWSTALK

00:00-06:00

Share

BREAKFAST BRIEFING

BREAKFAST BRIEFING

06:00-06:30

Share

BREAKFAST BUSINESS

BREAKFAST BUSINESS

06:30-07:00

Share

NEWSTALK BREAKFAST

NEWSTALK BREAKFAST

07:00-09:00

Share

THE PAT KENNY SHOW

THE PAT KENNY SHOW

09:00-12:00

Share

LUNCHTIME LIVE

LUNCHTIME LIVE

12:00-14:00

Share

MONCRIEFF

MONCRIEFF

14:00-16:00

Share

THE HARD SHOULDER

THE HARD SHOULDER

16:00-19:00

Share

OFF THE BALL

OFF THE BALL

19:00-22:00

Share

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Share on