Tesco takes on Amazon with its first checkout-free store

A new Tesco store trial called ‘GetGo’ uses similar technology to Amazon Fresh shops to automatically charge you for any stuff you walk out with.

Tesco has been mulling this development for a while, being understandably wary of Amazon doing to groceries what it has to much of the rest of the retail sector. Earlier this year Amazon opened its first bricks-and-mortar store in the UK using its own ‘Just Walk Out’ technology involving smartphones, cameras, sensors and RFID to know when you have taken grabbed something off a shelf. It then automatically charges your Amazon account when you leave.

The first GetGo is being trailed at the Tesco Express in Holborn, Central London. It uses technology provided by Trigo, which seems to be a direct competitor to the tech Amazon is flogging to other retailers. It shouldn’t take too long, hopefully, to stress-test this retail paradigm with regular punters and, if it works, could be rolled out rapidly.

“This is a really exciting moment for Tesco as we launch GetGo with customers,” said Kevin Tindall, MD of Tesco Convenience. “We are constantly looking for ways to improve the shopping experience and our latest innovation offers a seamless checkout for customers on the go, helping them to save a bit more time. This is currently just a one-store trial but we’re looking forward to seeing how our customers respond”.

It looks like the race is on, with recent reports suggesting Amazon has been chatting to fellow Seattle giant Starbuck to make a café where you just grab stuff without having to interact with other people. Thus leaving even more time for sitting at your table scrolling through social media. Apparently they would be co-branded and require separate smartphone apps for Amazon and Starbucks stuff, which seems like far too much hassle.

So much consumer technology innovation is focused on solving first world problems. Yes, queuing up at the checkout is a drag and even the latest self-scanning technology involves some extra hassle and is prone to human error. It’s presumably just a matter of time before we have full virtual reality shopping that will provide all the fun of walking up and down the aisles without the need to leave the house.

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