Tesco is using an innovation hotbed within its Welwyn Garden City headquarters to test a wholly cashless shopping experience, with staff who shop at the in-house mini Tesco Express using their mobiles to scan their own shopping, and simply walking out with it to leave the apps and passwords and clever things to handle payment in the background.
100 staff who take a break from working in a Tesco office to do their shopping in an in-house Tesco have a special version of the Scan Pay Go app on their phones, and are trusted enough to self-scan their own shopping and avoid the hell that is potential small talk with a till operator or the purgatory of an incorrect item in the bagging area.
Tesco boss Dave Lewis is thinking about rolling out the scheme to other branches used by people who don't work for Tesco, but is wary that some might use it as an excuse to forget to scan a couple of high value items and walk off with some freebies. "The technology exists to do it but does the customer behaviour support it?" Lewis asked, adding that "If the margin is 2-3 per cent you don't need to lose very much to make it unprofitable."
The Welwyn Tesco is also fully cashless, with staff that don't use the self-scan system apparently enjoying faster than ever checkouts thanks to ditching physical money. [Guardian]