Last week we reported how Amazon has been patenting ideas to change the ways that shoppers buy their goods in physical stores, by paying for their items after they’ve picked them up in store. So, this week we were interested to hear that Sainsbury’s are also exploring innovative retail formats, developing a new ‘shop-and-go’ shopping app for smartphones, ready for launch later in the year. Sainsbury’s hope that the technology will enable customers to do their entire shop in-store, using their mobile phone.
The app will initially be trialled at one of the retail giant’s larger stores, in Wandsworth, before hopefully being rolled out to more locations later in the year.
The app allows shoppers to scan the barcodes on products at home and add them to a shopping list for use in store. It also features a live pricing feature, which will update the user’s shopping list with current store prices and tot up the cost of the items on the list.
Once they enter the store, they can connect to Sainsbury’s wifi and the app will display a map to show them where their chosen items are in that particular store. Once selected, the app can also be used to scan the item’s barcodes as the customers place them into their trolley or basket.
They can then make an instant payment for their groceries, via the app by taking an in-app photo of their bank card – and these details can be saved within the app for future shops, if desired.
Like the Amazon idea, this essentially does away with the need for a checkout – but the retailer is aware that they still have to address security concerns and will bring in a ‘payment zone’ to reduce the chances of the process being exploited by shoplifters. The area will probably be fitted with electronic gates and alarms, requiring customers to scan their app to prove that they have paid for their purchases before they leave the store. The receipt will then be sent electronically to their device.
Mike Coupe, of Sainsbury’s spoke to Retail Week about their plans, which they hope to roll out nationwide next year, after trailing it at a selection of locations:
“I think Brand Match took about a year to be copied across the industry, so I think that’s about the length of time we’ve got on this as a competitive advantage. But I think where we can win is with our customer interaction, offering them alternative products because they suit their lifestyle for example. Over time we can do a better job of that.”
As always, we’ll be interested to see how this one plays out – and whether any of the other ‘Big Four’ supermarkets will be following suit with similar technologies.