The Co-op has revealed it will soon rollout new technology within its stores that allows customers to scan and pay for products using just their smartphone.
Teaming up with Mastercard, the food retailer hopes to compete with tech giant Amazon after the launch of its ‘Amazon Go’ store. The technology for Co-op will allow customers to scan an item on their phone and leave without the need to stop at a till, in one frictionless experience.
Using the technology, shoppers simply scan products using the Co-op app on their phone as they browse through the store. Once they have finished customers simply click ‘check out’ using pre-stored payment details within the app with Mastercard Masterpass, then happily leave the store.
The technology will benefit those shoppers in a hurry, according to the company, enabling them to get in and out of the store with their goods in a short amount of time. Those customers who frequently shop at the Co-Op will benefit from savings, as the app records the information in their membership account. When customers buy a co-op brand they are given a 5% reward to their account, with another 1% going to charitable causes.
Elliott Goldenberg, head, digital payments, Mastercard UK, says: “With the Co-op we are bringing our online and mobile capability – Masterpass – into the physical store, and offering consumers who want a fast and frictionless buying experience, a secure and reliable way to pay.”
Co-op is still in the final stages of the app trial at a store in Manchester, which is not open to the public. However, there is expected to be another trial at Microsoft’s UK headquarters in Reading before a public roll out.
Despite the obvious benefits surrounding the technology, it has brought concerns over artificial intelligence (AI) and automation taking over jobs to the surface again. Many workers are concerned that the technology could rule out the need for tills completely, leaving people out of a job to technology once again.
The Co-op, however, has insisted the technology will not take over jobs and instead compliment the current ways of shopping and paying.
Matthew Speight, the Co-op director of retail support, said: “It is all about consumer choices and convenience. We recognise there are many communities where customers pop in to their local Co-op and enjoy a friendly chat – it is all part of the service. Whereas for others, perhaps with a train to catch or on a school run, every second can count as consumers seek increased convenience.”
The Co-op has said it expects to start delivering the technology to the public as early as the summer.