Opening a store in Greenwich, Aldi is the first discounter to offer the ‘just walk out’ shopping experience in the United Kingdom. The store had been trialled by the discounter’s staff over the past few months.
Improving customer experience
Customers have to download the Aldi Shop&Go app in order to enter the store and shop. As soon as a customer leaves the store, he or she is charged automatically via a pre-selected payment method, and a receipt will appear in the app. To buy alcohol, customers will have to prove their age via specific facial recognition technology or through a shop assistant.
“For us, steps like this are always about improving the customer experience“, Lewis Esparon, store manager, told The Grocer. “The whole team are looking forward to being on-hand and ready to help to ensure that experience is as smooth as ever.”
Following Amazon’s footsteps
Implementing this new technology, Aldi is following the lead of several other British retailers. In October, Tesco opened its ‘GetGo’ store in London, allowing shoppers to simply take products off the shelves and walk out. Sainsbury’s followed suit in November with the launch of a ‘Smartshop Pick & Go’ store, and Morrisons is trialling a similar concept at its Bradford headquarters, which, so far, has only been accessible to staff.
All these retailers follow Amazon‘s footsteps, which has meanwhile opened fifteen till-less stores in and around London. By 2025, the e-commerce giant wants to have 260 Amazon Fresh stores up and running spread across the United Kingdom.
Aldi’s rival Lidl is also working on a till-free shopping experience, in which shoppers would still have to scan products with their smartphones. In November, CEO Christian Härtnagel said the app would only be launched “once we are convinced it really works for our customers as well as for our business”.