Sainsbury's unveils new Smartshop app features

UK grocer Sainsbury’s has announced a range of new features for its Smartshop app, which it says will help consumers speed up the Christmas shopping process in its supermarkets.

In an email to customers, the retailer said that the newly refreshed mobile offering includes in-app shopping lists, and a feature which means it remembers what has been scanned even if the app closes mid shop.

In addition, Sainsbury’s said the app now works using Wi-Fi or data.

There have been multiple innovations around quick payments in grocery since the initial wave of in-store shopping apps were launched, with the likes of Amazon Go in the US setting the bar for what is possible in terms of operating checkout-less stores. The Sunday Telegraph reported this weekend that Amazon Go is set to open a checkout-less store in London's West End, which would be the first of its kind outside the US.

Sainsbury’s itself is trialling its own version of ‘scan and go’ technology in its Clapham North store in London, using the Smartshop app technology as support. Customers can scan products with the smartphone app and pay for the goods without having to visit a fixed till or self-service machine.

Whereas Smartshop generally allows consumers to build their own shopping list on their mobile as they travel around the store before checking out at a till or self-service kiosk, the Clapham initiative goes a step further, with the customer asked to tap their phone against a QR code on exit to make a transaction. The app is linked to a consumer’s Nectar card, and relies on Apple Pay to complete transactions.

Clodagh Moriarty led the development of Smartshop in her roles as director of online. She has since been promoted to group chief digital officer, focusing on integrating digital customer experience across Sainsbury’s, Argos, Sainsbury’s Bank and Nectar.

Sainsbury’s said in the summer that its Smartshop technology already sees over 100,000 transactions from its 68 compatible branches every week.

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