Tesco trials cashierless technology

Tesco is responding to its rivals by trialling cashier-free technology in-store.

The system, developed in partnership with Trigo Vision, was showcased at a Tesco Express store during the capital markets day earlier this month, although no further details were given on roll-out plans.

An artificial-intelligence powered camera network and sensors on shelves detect what people are picking up and putting in their baskets, before automatically charging them for their shopping as they leave.

Customers are prompted to add their payment details to the Tesco app, or use screens that show a running bill so that they can pay before they leave the store.

Israeli startup Trigo Vision, which has received $7 million in seed funding from Hetz Ventures and Vertex Ventures Israel, has also partnered with Israel's largest supermarket chain Shufersal, which uses the technology across its 272 stores.

The company claims it can help supermarkets track inventory in real-time and also prevent shoplifting.

British supermarkets are racing to get ready for Amazon Go’s arrival in the UK, after its automated stores have spread to several cities in the US.

In April, Aldi began a trial of self-service checkouts in one of its stores for the first time. It follows the likes of the Co-Operative and Sainsbury’s into adopting artificial intelligence-based systems.

Recent predictions from Juniper Research suggested retail spend at stores with ‘frictionless payment points’ will grow from an estimated $253 million in 2018 to over $45 billion by 2023.

Manu Tyagi, associate partner for retail and consumer goods at Infosys Consulting, commented: “Tesco’s decision to follow Amazon’s lead demonstrates a desire to fight back against the e-commerce giant as it prepares to open its first automated store in London, marking its territory in the UK grocery market.

“These advances are unarguably impressive, and spell a bright future for the retail industry. However, we’re finding that some consumers still prefer the reassurance of human interaction – and this need should not be ignored,” he noted.

“In 2015 Morrisons reintroduced human-staffed checkouts for small shopping baskets - a move away from the wave of automated, self-service tills that had become commonplace - it turns out that people quite enjoy everyday interactions with the smiling checkout operator, advice from knowledgeable shop assistants, and just bumping into friends in the local supermarket queue.”

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