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Tesco to Challenge Amazon with Frictionless Shopping Experiences

28 June 2019 - 09:34 by Simon Crisp

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UK supermarket chain Tesco is seeking to butt heads with US e-commerce titan Amazon by introducing systems that will allow customers to enjoy the immediacy of bricks-and-mortar shopping in combination with the convenience of safe shopping online.

Internet Retailing reports that Tesco has plans to do away with checkouts altogether at a handful of stores and instead use artificial intelligence and digital systems to keep track of what customers put in their baskets.

The idea is similar to that of Amazon Go, the small-scale stores that have been rolled out in a handful of US cities that do not have any kind of checkout or even any customer-facing staff.

As a generation of consumers who are intimately familiar with online shopping emerges, firms like Tesco are keen to turn their attention to retaining interest in store visits, which is where the deployment of checkout-free technology comes into play.

Tesco will be partnering with a firm called Trigo Vision in order to achieve this. Customers will need to download an app from which payment will be taken after each shopping trip, but the process of actually passing through a checkout system will be unnecessary.

Trigo Vision is already having a large-scale test run in its native Israel, so it will not be completely unproven technology when it arrives in Tesco stores in the UK.

Cameras set up around each shop will look out for the items which are being added to baskets, and then this will automatically track the products being purchased.

No doubt there will be a few imperfections in this platform during its early stages, but even so it heralds a new era in which online and in-store shopping are more closely aligned than ever before.