Scan-as-you-shop technology set to roll out across Tesco

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Tesco is planning a national rollout of scan- as-you-shop devices after trials revealed one pound in every seven spent in its stores goes through the system.

The retailer is piloting the scheme in 60 stores but plans to roll them out to a further 40 before Christmas and is looking at UK-wide adoption.

At a tour of one trial store, in Bishop’s Stortford, Herts, CEO Philip Clarke said he regretted Tesco had been so slow to roll out the self-scanning devices. “This had actually been in trial for two years in five stores but became stuck in development,” he said.

The devices, which use a portable barcode scanner that can be checked out at a self-service system at the front of the store, had also proved an unlikely hit with children, said Clarke, claiming many were helping their parents scan as they shopped.

Tesco’s initial reluctance to roll out the devices is understood to be down to fears they would increase customer thefts. But the retailer has been working with electronic tagging company Checkpoint Systems to roll out new security tags compatible with the devices.

The scanners were already proving popular, said Tesco chief operating officer Chris Bush. “The devices have been in this store for eight weeks and it’s already accounting for 15% of transactions.”

Mobile scanners are not new to grocery. They were trialled in the 1990s by Safeway, and Waitrose has been offering a service called Quick Check since 1996. The retailer offers the service in 178 stores and said it too had plans for more as they accounted for up to 25% of sales in some stores.

“Customer feedback is extremely positive, with the main benefits quoted as being convenience, time saved, ability to track spend and not having to queue at the checkouts,” said a spokeswoman.

Readers' comments (14)

  • I would love to know the cost as I shop,and to know if I can afford a little treat,that I would not normally buy.

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  • This system is great, my shop is usually to large for baskets but not a full trolley, being able to pack as you go round saves time, its running total is good, and its quick at check out. Well done Tesco.

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  • Great system but Isle of Wight customers are having to endure very high levels of spot checks

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  • I won't use it because I don't want to touch anything that has someone else's germs on it.

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  • Sorry Anne, your saying you wont use that service because other people eill touch the devices.
    But yet you would probably take a trolley or basket it would have mire germs on than the actual devices them selfs.

    How on earth do you work that one out?!!

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  • According to my local tesco store this facility is for large amounts of shopping only, if you only want one or two items you should go and queue the traditional way.

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  • What is to stop 'certain types' of customer putting - for example - a bunch of bananas straight into their basket/trolley without using the scales/label sequence, then hoping they won't be spot checked on leaving the store ?

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  • I for one do not welcome this development as I object to "Spot Checks" on principle. Why should a supermarket regard me as a potential thief? Even the police are coverned by rigid stop and search procedures. In addition, this is just another way of cutting costs by removing checkout jobs. I actually ENJOY the personal contact with the checkout people and the last thing we need is to loose more jobs in the current climate. TESCO and the other chains already make obscenely large profits we don't need this.

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  • Waitrose is already the leader in this area, Tesco is just playing catch up. Good system, when used properly - and spot checks are essential to deter would-be abusers of the system. People DO abuse this system anyway, but the benefits to customers AND the business outweigh the tiny losses incurred through the odd dodgy customer.

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  • Very pleased to see this in my Tesco Extra in Northampton. Used it in Waitrose for years before I moved, and was a big fan.

    I used it for the first time today and was very impressed. The process was smooth from beginning to end.

    Was called up for a "spot check" (I suspect it was because it was my first time!), but as I've used this for years in Waitrose, it was a process I was familiar with. The shop assistant simply took 4 or 5 items at random from my bag and scanned them again. Only took a moment. In all, a much quicker process than having to queue for a till, and my shopping is packed in the bags as I like it, and done with care.

    I'm converted!

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