The Co-op has gone into disrupter mode with the test of pay-in-aisle technology that could be rolled out this summer.
It is launching a pilot ‘shop, scan and go’ system at its store in the Co-op support centre in Manchester today and plans a wider rollout beginning as early as this summer.
This is expected to include a test at a store located in Microsoft’s UK headquarters in Reading, Berkshire.
Customers can scan and pay for products on their own hand-held device that has the Co-op’s mobile app installed, using Mastercard UK’s online and mobile technology Masterpass.
When customers finish shopping, the amount they owe is deduced from their account with a single click in what the Co-op describes as a “frictionless shopping experience”.
The technology also links information from a customer’s Co-op Membership account - telling shoppers how much they have saved and how much the Co-op will donate to local good causes following the transaction.
The trial store will retain self-service and traditional checkouts. “It is all about consumer choice and providing what customers need, where they need it and when,” a spokesman said.
There were no plans afoot to operate stores without physical checkouts, he said. It was too early to specify the number of stores it would be rolled out to and over what period until the results of the trials were reviewed, he added.
Asked how the technology would guard against walking out of the store without paying, the spokesman said: “We take retail crime very seriously and will be refining this technology as we learn from our trials, while developing new technologies to complement our existing security measures to prevent criminal activity.”
The Co-op has seen the number of cash transactions in stores rapidly decrease in favour of alternative payment methods.
Cash transactions have dropped by more than one fifth over the past five years, with a 15% reduction in the past 18 months alone.
Matthew Speight, director of retail support at the Co-op, said: “It is a challenging marketplace for retailers, and the Co-op is responding positively. Our ambition is to harness technology to deliver the shopping experience that our diverse customer base requires - when, where and how they need it.
“It is all about consumer choices and convenience. We listen to our members and customers and we are investing in our stores, people, prices, products and technology.”
Elliott Goldenberg, head of digital payments at Mastercard UK, said technology was bringing unprecedented change to retailing but the challenge was to meet the needs of all consumers who were moving at different speeds in the adoption of technology.
“With the Co-op we are bringing our online and mobile capability - Masterpass - into the physical store, and offering consumers who want a fast and frictionless buying experience, a secure and reliable way to pay,” Goldenberg said.
“By scanning products using Co-op’s mobile app, shoppers can checkout using payment card details securely stored within Masterpass, and leave the store, with both the Co-op and them knowing they have paid.”