Tesco’s checkout-free GetGo store may very well become the norm.
It follows the launch of Amazon’s Fresh stores earlier in the year, which rely on similar technology to Tesco’s cameras and weight sensors. Meanwhile, the talk is that Aldi may launch its own checkout-free store before the end of the month.
GetGo on High Holborn, central London,GetGo stocks the full range of products expected at standard Tesco Express stores, including an extensive food-to-go range, as well as ambient, frozen and chilled products. The technology within the 225 sq m, 2,500-SKU store is provided by Israeli startup Trigo.
The store requires customers to download the Tesco Grocery & Clubcard app, enable the GetGo function and enter payment details before entering with a QR code generated by the app. Staff are on duty outside, showing baffled customers how to download the app and ensure all is in order before they begin their shop.
Our shopper tried her hardest to game the system, but the GetGo cameras and on-shelf weight sensors seem pretty smart. The receipt that appeared in her emails on leaving the store was accurate. If she picked up an item and returned it, even if it wasn’t to exactly the same place, she was not charged. If she picked up multiple of the same SKU, she was charged correctly.
She purchased an iced coffee from the Costa machine, and was charged accordingly – although this was where I had expected issues to crop up, based on my experience shopping at Amazon Fresh’s checkout-free store in the early days, where it repeatedly neglected to charge for purchases from the coffee machine.
However, if she picked up an item and handed it to another customer who then took it out of the store, she was charged for that item. No more retrieving products on the top shelves for fellow shoppers unable to reach, it seems.
Age-restricted items such as alcohol, sharps, tobacco and medicine are kept in a staffed one-way system near the exit, which must be accessed through a gate. Our shopper was asked for ID while picking up products from this section, making it her first and only interaction with a team member in the store.
“Getting set-up wasn’t very hard, and now it’s done, I won’t have to do it again so it will be even easier next time,” says our shopper. “Making it part of the Grocery & Clubcard app was a bonus, so now I can have everything in one place.
“Overall, it was a hassle-free, queue-less experience that would be great for people living or working in the city and needing to get in and out quickly. Even though there are no checkouts, there were plenty of staff around so I could ask questions if I needed to.”