U.K. supermarket giant Tesco is taking on Amazon Go with its own version of “just walk-out” technology being trialed at its new GetGo stores.
Using weight sensors in the shelves and integrated artificial intelligence (AI), GetGo stores allow people to shop for groceries and household items without having to scan products, deal with a point-of-sale (POS) system or interact with cashiers.
The AI system follows a shopper’s movement up and down store aisles and uses cameras to see what items are picked up. The technology builds a unique skeleton outline of each shopper but doesn’t use facial recognition.
Kevin Tindall, managing director of Tesco Convenience said in a press release on Tuesday (Oct. 19) that the company is always on the lookout for ways to make shoppers’ experiences better, with GetGo driving a “seamless checkout for customers on the go.”
He added that the pilot being conducted in one store is a test drive to see how people will embrace the new just walk-out shopping experience.
The concept is currently being trialed in Holborn, central London, and follows a small test at a similar store near the company’s home office in Welwyn Garden City, which started selling merchandise to the retailer’s staff in 2019.
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Shoppers have to download the Tesco.com app to shop at GetGo and check in to the store using a QR code generated on their smartphone. People can pick up the items they want without scanning anything else and walk out when they’re done. The bill will be charged to the customer’s Tesco account.
GetGo stores are configured like other Tesco Express convenience stores, selling a wide variety of items, including ready-made meals, fresh flowers, bakery items and more. Cigarettes and alcohol are also sold in a restricted area where a staff member checks identification for age restrictions.
Technology firm Trigo developed the AI innovations used in the Holborn store, where it is the first time it’s been used by a retailer in the U.K.