Major self-checkout change at supermarket set to end customers' 'frustrations'

The UK's biggest supermarket Tesco is trialling the new tech, with one fashion retailer in Australia already using something similar.

Revolutionary self-service technology is being trialled at the UK's biggest supermarket and promises to bring an end to a common gripe expressed by shoppers at the checkout.

The major change at Tesco's supermarket chain will see the dreaded 'unexpected item' message vanish as shoppers are not required to scan individual items. Instead, the "magic" technology identifies which items you have placed in your basket or trolley before presenting you a list on the screen. Once you approve the list, shoppers are prompted to pay.

The technology works by using sensors and cameras around the stores watching the items shoppers select, while shelves are also weighed.

Self-service checkouts are divisive among shoppers – but one new advancement could end one major complaint. Source: Getty
Self-service checkouts are divisive among shoppers – but one new advancement could end one major complaint. Source: Getty

"This is about cutting out some of the challenges around scanning. Sometimes there can be issues with certain barcodes and products. The alert for an 'unexpected item in the bagging area' is a classic one that customers get frustrated about, understandably. With the 'no-scan' tills, you turn up to the checkout and you pay," Sarah Quiggin, head of store customer experience, said.

The supermarket believes the change will drastically reduce queues inside its stores.

One shopper at a London supermarket that was trialling the technology told The Times using the self-service machines was "like magic" as my items "came up on the screen without me doing anything".

Woolworths and Coles content with current checkout options

Sadly for Australians, the new speedy system won't be available for Woolworths shoppers anytime soon.

Woolworths confirmed they have no plans at this stage to explore the technology and instead pointed to their Scan&Go technology, which allows shoppers to pay via an app for items they've scanned with their phone as they navigate a store.

Yahoo also understands Coles is not planning on trialling the technology either however is continuously assessing options that could improve the customer experience.

Australia's leading supermarkets have faced mounting pressure from shoppers over the increased security measures in stores, including additional cameras and security gates at self-service checkouts, in a bid to control rising theft.

Self-service checkouts have been divisive among shoppers, with some claiming they take away jobs. British supermarket Booths recently announced it was removing self-service checkouts as they were "impersonal".

Fashion retailer Uniqlo is already using a form of technology that allows Australian customers to pay at self-service checkouts without scanning barcodes. The machines instead uses radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags on labels to detect what has been placed in the checkout.

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