Co-op unveils ‘pay in aisle’ technology

The Co-op has started trials of a new mobile app where customers can checkout their in-store purchases on their phone, without visiting a till.

The technology allows consumers to scan products on their own device as they walk around the supermarket. When they have finished shopping, the amount they owe will then be deducted from their mobile wallet with a single click.

The technology has been built in association with Mastercard and uses Masterpass, the payment company’s digital account offering. The app is currently being piloted at a store in the Co-op’s support centre in Manchester, and a wider roll-out is slated for this summer – which is also expected to include a further trial at the Co-op store based in the UK headquarters of Microsoft.

The new app will also link to information in 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 community retailer – which plans to open 100 new food stores in 2018 – said this latest move was partly in response to the number of cash transactions in its outlets rapidly reducing in favour of alternative payment methods. Cash transactions have dropped by more than one fifth over the last five years, with a 15 per cent reduction in the past 18 months alone.

Matthew Speight, director of retail support at the Co-op, explained: “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,” he added. “We listen to our members and customers and we are investing in our stores, people, prices, products and technology. We recognise there are many communities where customers pop in to their local Co-op and enjoy a friendly chat – it is all part of the service. Whereas for others, perhaps with a train to catch or on a school run, every second can count as consumers seek increased convenience.”

Mastercard UK’s head of digital payments, Elliott Goldenberg, said: “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. 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.”

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