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Co-op deploys in-store mobile checkout

Co-op has built an app with Mastercard which allows customers to pay for their goods on their mobile in-store, without going to a till point.

Shoppers scan products on their mobile device as they walk around the store, when they have completed their shop, they pay for their goods via the app.

The grocer is trailing the payments app at a store located at the retailer’s support centre in Manchester, with a wider rollout planned for the summer.

“It is a challenging market place for retailers, and the Co-op is responding positively,” said Matthew Speight, director of retail support at the Co-op. “Our ambition is to harness technology to deliver the shopping experience that our diverse customer-based requires – when, where and how they need it.”

He added: “It is all about consumer choices and convenience. We listen to our members and customers and we are investing in our stores, people, prices, products and technology. We recognise there are many communities where customers pop into their local Co-op and enjoys 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.”

Elliot Goldenberg, head of digital payments at Mastercard UK said: “Technology is bringing unprecedented change to retailing right before our eyes, however the challenge for all of us who play a part in the retail experience is meeting the needs of all consumers who are moving at different speeds in the adoption of technology.”

Many retailers are innovating to keep up with Amazon which began rolling out its checkout-less store Amazon Go in the US. Earlier this year, Shell began trialling an instant checkout solution from IBM. Shell's checkout uses RFID and bluetooth technology which results in consumers not having to scan products or visit a till to pay for their items.

Rupal Karia, commercial sector managing director at Fujitsu UK and Ireland said the current checkout process in shops is archaic. “But now, the days of queuing and tilling as we know it are numbered, with retailers such as the Co-op adopting an Amazon Go style model. This mobile shop and go set up is an example of how retailers can harness technology and embrace innovation in their physical stores to create that invaluable seamless customer journey.”

Karia said the increase in simple online shopping transactions have increased a need to improve the in-store check-out process, which he believes can impact whether a customer stays to pay or leaves their items behind.

“Technology can be a fantastic enabler in bridging the gap between online and bricks and mortar which more consumers are looking to retailers to do – but only if it is used in the right way. We’ve found that 8-in-10 consumers would actually spend more with retailers that have a better technology offering, emphasising the opportunity it holds for retailers to improve and grow their customer loyalty base. Shopping in store is now very much experiential, and by bringing innovative new ways to shop, retailers can enhance that experience to make it more interactive and digitally enabled.”