The Co-op Group is trialling an app-based solution to enable shoppers to bypass the till and check-out all products on their phone.
The ‘shop, scan and go’ initiative, which harnesses Mastercard’s secure digital payments capability, could be rolled out across all Co-op stores in the second half of the year, if it proves successful.
The initiative is being trialled at the Co-op’s store within its support centre in Manchester, with a further trial expected at its store in Microsoft UK’s headquarters.
A spokesman said it was “too early to say” whether the technology would be available to independent society stores, or even to Co-op-supplied symbol stores. He added that manned tills would not be scaled back.
The app allows customers to scan products on their own device as they walk around the store. When they have finished shopping, the amount they owe will be deducted from their account with a single click.
Cash transactions at Co-op stores have dropped by more than one-fifth over the last five years, with a 15% reduction in the last 18 months alone.
Co-op director of retail support, Matthew Speight, said: “It is a challenging market place 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.
“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.”
The technology also links information from 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.