It looks like supermarket giant Tesco is gearing up to trial checkout-free stores as the company tries to keep up with competition from innovative Internet retailers like Amazon.
Dave Lewis, CEO of Tesco, revealed how the company is experimenting with new ideas like checkout-free stores during a press conference in London last week.
It was during a series of questions about competition from Amazon when Lewis stated:
‘We’re trialling lots and lots of things — the thing you refer to, yes — but we’ll only talk about it when we’ve done it everywhere.’
Amazon made waves in May of this year when they trademarked the slogan ‘No Lines. No Checkout. (No Seriously.)’ with the UK’s Intellectual Property Office, an indication that Amazon intends to launch an Amazon Go supermarket in Britain.
There is currently one Amazon Go store in the world; located in Seattle, WA. Amazon Go offers customers a brand new and considerably easier shopping service than traditional supermarkets like Tesco.
Through use of various technologies including computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning, the Amazon Go store permits customers to enter the store, take the products they want, and leave without having to queue at a till to pay for the products.
It does this by automatically detecting when products are taken or returned to the shelf and tracking what products you keep via a virtual cart, and then charging your Amazon account.
It’s a very forward-thinking approach to the weekly shop and one that’s likely to catch on quite quickly should Amazon decide to aggressively expand its supermarket sector over the next few years.
As a result, it’s not too surprising to see Tesco is considering introducing such a service in its own stores and we should expect to see some of the other big players in the supermarket industry explore how new technologies can provide customers with quicker and more efficient services.