Co-op and Spar move forward with mobile payment apps

Date : 07 March 2018

Two UK convenience retailers are trialling mobile payment apps to improve the shopper experience.

Co-op trials “shop, scan-and-go” service

Co-op is trialling a “shop, scan and go” app which allows shoppers to purchase products in-store using their smartphones.

The trial of the new mobile app will start at the shop located in Co-op’s customer support centre in Manchester, followed by the store in Microsoft’s UK headquarters in Reading.  A wider rollout is planned to start in the summer.

Using the new app, shoppers can scan and pay for an item directly with their mobile phone without needing to queue at a till.  Payments made via the app are linked to shoppers’ Co-op membership accounts, with shoppers being able to see them how much they have saved via the retailer’s loyalty scheme.

The new service is a joint venture with Mastercard and has been launched to provide a “frictionless” buying experience after Co-op noticed a steep fall in cash transactions in recent years.

Spar UK retailer rolls out payment and loyalty app across estate

After a successful launch in October 2017, Zapper - an all-in one mobile payment, loyalty and vouchering app - is now available in 20 Gillett-owned Spar sites in the south west of England.

The app is similar to Apple pay, where shoppers use their mobile phone to pay at the till, but offers retailers the additional benefit of being able to combine payment, loyalty rewards and digital vouchers in one app.

Phil Darch, Operations Director at Gillett’s said, “We are delighted to be the first convenience retailer in the South West to offer customers payment through Zapper. We have been looking for some time how we can reward our customers with a loyalty program that is easy to administer offers real value to consumers and is integrated into a simple payment process. We believe that Zapper fits the bill and early indications have been very positive”.

Zapper is now available in over 1,000 convenience retail stores including Spar, Nisa, Premier, Londis, Family Shopper, Best-One and Costcutter across the UK.  Read more about its launch in Gillett’s Spar here.

Developing a “frictionless” buying experience

The development of mobile payment technology by Co-op and Spar follow similar trials by the likes of Sainsbury’s , not to mention the opening of Amazon’s first automated convenience store, Amazon Go, in Seattle in January this year (read about our first impressions of this store here).

By removing the need to queue at a till to pay, retailers are aiming to make the buying process as quick and convenient, or “frictionless”, as possible.  Although this may require a change in how shoppers feel about the payment process (to be seen walking out of a store without paying at a till may be uncomfortable for some) the drive to remove all barriers to hassle-free shopping looks set to continue.  Watch out for more developments in this space.


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