Sainsbury’s rolls out virtual queueing system

Sainsbury’s is trialling a virtual queuing system to help customers shop safely and conveniently in stores.

The trial, which will run via the ufirst app, will go live in five stores from today and is the first instance of the queueing technology being used in UK supermarkets.

The retailer is also rolling out till-free, contactless shopping to over 100 convenience stores, as part of efforts to invest in digital shopping solutions as a response to the Coronavirus pandemic and changing customer shopping habits.

The trial will run until mid-August and test how customers respond to such a solution, as well as how it supports colleagues to manage queues and the flow of customers in and out of stores.

It will also help Sainsbury’s respond quickly, should such a proposition need to be implemented at short notice in the event of a local lockdown, or scaled up if government guidance changes.

Customers can download the app on their smartphone and join a virtual queue without needing to physically wait in line at the store.

They can then monitor their position in the queue from their car, home or local coffee shop and will be notified when they are at the front. If a customer does not have a smartphone, colleagues can add the customer to the queue.

Sainsbury’s is also rolling out SmartShop Mobile Pay to more of its convenience stores, enabling till-free and contactless shopping. Customers can use their smartphones to scan their shopping, pack it and track what they are spending as they go, then pay for it through the app, without needing to go to a physical till.

The app is now live in over 75 Sainsbury’s Local stores and the retailer is continuing to rapidly rollout the technology to more convenience stores – 40 more will follow this week.

Nigel Blunt, director of e-commerce at Sainsbury’s, said: “We’re always on the lookout for how we can make our customers lives easier using technology. We’re trialling a virtual queuing system which enables shoppers to hold their place in the queue using their smartphone and we will be listening closely to feedback from our customers and colleagues.

“We’re also rolling out SmartShop Mobile Pay to even more convenience stores, offering customers fast and contactless shopping that will help them get in and out of the store even quicker.”

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