Amazon powers Sainsbury’s checkout-free stores

  • November 30, 2021
  • Steve Rogerson

UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s is launching a contactless, checkout-free way to shop using Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology.

Building on its SmartShop, which grew 173% last year, SmartShop Pick & Go is in use in Sainsbury’s convenience store at Holborn Circus, London. It also builds on recent digital initiatives such as My Nectar Prices, same-day home delivery, and click-and-collect and the further rollout of tech-based on demand service Chop Chop.

To enter the store, customers scan a QR code using the SmartShop app which is linked to a credit or debit card. Just Walk Out technology automatically adds anything the customer takes off the shelf to their virtual cart and removes anything they put back on the shelf.

The customer leaves the store by scanning the QR code to exit through the store’s automatic gates. Their linked card will be charged for the items they pick and customers will receive a receipt via email when they have left the store.

Store colleagues will be on hand in the store to assist customers and keep shelves stocked. The Holborn store was selected to use the technology as it is primarily focused on offering on-the-go food and drink to busy local workers who want to complete their shopping as quickly as possible.

Just Walk Out provides shoppers with a fast, efficient and seamless way to shop and is in dozens of Amazon Go stores, select Amazon Fresh stores, and other third-party retailers in the USA.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with Sainsbury’s to enable their Holborn Circus checkout-free convenience store powered by our Just Walk Out technology,” said Dilip Kumar, Amazon’s vice president. “We’re excited to bring Just Walk Out technology to our first customer internationally with Sainsbury’s. With no tills, no checkout lanes and no self-service scanners, we can’t wait to hear how busy Londoners enjoy the experience.”

Customer demand for contactless ways to shop in stores has increased, especially since the start of the pandemic. SmartShop is available in around 1400 Sainsbury’s stores, with sales up 173% versus last year. In supermarkets with SmartShop handsets, 30% of sales are now generated through the app, more than twice the level of last year and SmartShop Mobile Pay is available in nearly all convenience stores.

“We are always looking at new ways to make shopping easy and convenient for our customers,” said Clo Moriarty, Sainsbury’s retail and digital director. “We are excited about launching SmartShop Pick & Go, which offers contactless, checkout-free shopping to our customers and are looking forward to hearing their feedback.”