Tesco launches trial of checkout-free shopping

Date : 10 October 2019

Tesco has invested in checkout-free start-up company, Trigo Vision, to trial cashierless technology at its Tesco Express store at its Welwyn Garden City headquarters.Tesco’s investment is in addition to a $22 million funding round recently announced by Trigo Vision.

Facilitating frictionless shopping

Trigo Vision’s technology will allow Tesco app users to walk into the store, select items they wish to purchase, and leave without paying at a check-out. Payment for the products will be processed automatically via the app. The new technology relies on cameras, positioned in the store ceiling, designed to identify items picked up by shoppers in order to accurately charge them via the app.

The move is designed to facilitate frictionless shopping, speed up operations and relieve pressures on in-store staff. The retailer is taking a test and learn approach, learning's from the trial will influence potential roll-out of the technology.  

Trigo Source: Trigo

The 1,700 sq. ft store was picked as a site to host the trial due to its location at the retailer's head office, and experience in previously housing new payment initiatives. In 2018, the branch became the first to trial card-only checkouts, as well as scan and pay via Smartphone technology. IGD analysts visited the store during the trial; the full store report is available to Retail Analysis subscribers here.


Tesco shared the news amid its H1 results, which saw group sales rise by 0.1% and LFL sales fall 0.4%. The retailer also announced that Dave Lewis, Group CEO, is to step down from summer 2020, succeeded by Ken Murphy. At the same time, Tesco highlighted that its ‘Scan, Pay, Go’ app is now available to over 5,000 colleagues.

Chief technology officer for Tesco, Guus Dekkers, commented on the new partnership, "Our team-up with Trigo Vision is an exciting next step towards the true delivery and implementation of a frictionless shopping concept. We are thrilled at the progress made during the last weeks and months, which has allowed us to demonstrate this technology in our concept store at Tesco and are confident our joint commitment will mutually enable an acceleration towards a productive usage of these innovative concepts."

CEO of Trigo, Michael Gabay, responded to the partnership with, “We are absolutely honoured to have Tesco’s faith in Trigo. We see Tesco as a very forward-thinking grocer. Tesco has always acted as a pioneer of innovation in the world of grocery, from e-commerce to autonomation. This partnership is a huge vote of confidence in future of frictionless grocery. This partnership will allow us to move beyond piloting and onto scaling.”

This is the second retail partnership for Trigo Vision, following one with Israel-based supermarket chain Shufersal last year.

Delivering more convenient solutions

The news follows a series of similar developments in both the UK and beyond.

In January 2018, Amazon launched its new Amazon Go concept in Seattle, marking the first checkout-free, 'just walk out' store concept to be developed by a major retailer. The concept has since been rolled out to further locations in the US.

In April, Sainsbury's launched its first till-free store at its Holborn Circus Local shop, opposite the Sainsbury's head office. Customers were able to use the Smart Shop Pay & Go app to pay in-store, before ending the trial in September,, concluding that not all of its customers were ready to adopt the new technology.


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