Checkout-free Sainsbury’s branch has tills reinstalled
Checkout-free Sainsbury’s branch has tills reinstalled after just three months because customers chose to queue at the helpdesk to pay a human rather than using the self-scan app as bosses hoped
- Shop in Holborn Circus was first till-free store to trial the technology in the UK
- Supermarket giant had been looking into the digital system since August 2018
- It resulted in queues at the help desk as people tried to pay with cash and card
A checkout-free Sainsbury’s branch has reinstalled its tills after just three months because customers chose to queue at the helpdesk to pay in the traditional way, rather than use the app.
The Holborn Circus shop was made till-free in April this year, with customers able to pay for products using the company’s app on their phone – in a drive to speed up shopping.
Shoppers download an app, called SmartShop then scan the barcode of the items they want to buy.
But the experiment resulted in long queues at the help desk, as people tried to pay for their groceries in the traditional way.
The Holborn Circus shop was made till-free in April this year, with customers able to pay for products using the company’s app on their phone
Shoppers download an app, called SmartShop then scan the barcode of the items they want to buy
Some people who used the store were not particularly with the lack of tills in at the Holborn Circus shop
A number of social media users reported there being long queues by people who did not want to use the app
A number of customers were critical of the app and how difficult it was to scan items
And customers also struggled to scan the QR codes, did not want to use their mobile data downloading the app, and found logging into the store’s WiFi a lengthy process.
Some shoppers took to social media to complain about the store during its three-month trial.
Tim Dunn said: ‘Pleased to note the infuriating @sainsburys #smartshop on Holborn has reverted to having tills and self-checkouts rather than forcing you to use its sodding terrible app.
‘Still can choose to use the app if you feel masochistic of course.’
And another user said: @sainsburys can you please end the SmartShop trial at 120 Holborn and bring back self service tills.
‘No one wants to use it and it results in the single person on till having to deal with a huge line.
‘Forcing people into the app is not working and just frustrating everyone.’
In a blog post on its website, the supermarket behemoth said ‘it’s clear that not all our customers are ready for a totally till-free store.’
Image showing the app on a phone at the Sainsburys local store in Holborn, London which previously had no tills
The post added: ‘Some customers preferred to pay with cash and card, which sometimes meant they were queuing to use the helpdesk, particularly at peak times of day.
‘This is why we’ve added a manned till and two self-checkouts back into the store so those looking to pay by cash and card can do so quickly and conveniently.
Prior to the revamping of the store Clodagh Moriarty, group chief digital officer at Sainsbury’s, said: ‘We know our customers value their time and many want to shop as quickly as possible – technology is key to that.
‘This is an experiment rather than a new format for us – it hasn’t been done in the UK before and we’re really excited to understand how our customers respond to the app experience.
‘We’ll be with our customers and colleagues all the way over the coming months, iterating continuously based on their feedback before we decide if, how and where we make this experience more widely available.’
It is unclear how this will impact Sainsbury’s previous plans to roll the new system out nationwide.
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