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Supermarkets have had to adapt and change since the coronavirus outbreak in order to keep staff and shoppers safe. All chains have implemented social distancing measures, and shoppers are also required to wear face coverings when they visit. However, it’s still a potential risk as customers from all different households mix under one roof.
However, while all of the big supermarkets have made changes including perspex screens at checkouts, cleaning stations and restrictions on numbers, one shop is going even further.
Contactless payments have been encouraged since the start of the lockdown in order to minimise the risk.
The contactless payment limit was even increased on bank cards so that more people could tap to pay, without entering a pin number.
Many shops are also requesting that customers refrain from using cash, over fears it could spread the virus.
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However, now Sainsbury’s is seizing the opportunity to roll out an app that it had been trialling in its stores.
The SmartShop app allows customers to pay for their groceries without even going to a till.
The checkouts are considered one of the potential danger zones as it requires some contact.
However, the SmartShop system could make shopping that bit safer by allowing customers to pick up their supermarket shop without coming into any contact with staff.
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The scheme has been on trial in over 75 Sainsbury’s Local stores and another 40 have rolled out the system this week.
All shoppers have to do is download the app to their smartphone, on Apple or Android.
They can then use the app to scan their shopping as they walk around the store, packing it into a bag as they go.
It means customers can tot up their bill as they shop, meaning no surprises when it’s time to pay.
Once shoppers have everything they need, they simply scan a code at the exit in order to finish and pay, without heading to one of the physical tills.
The app has had a successful start in the supermarket chain; according to Sainsbury’s, SmartShop now accounts for more than half of sales in some of its stores.
The chain said it is serving more than one million customers a week through the app – and now even more will be able to make use of the till-free service as it is available in even more of its convenience stores.
It’ll be good news for those wanting to avoid queues, which are already reduced now that some social distancing measures have been eased in shops.
In fact, Sainsbury’s has also announced a new virtual queueing system this week to help ensure its customers don’t have to wait around while the coronavirus crisis is still a concern.
Instead of standing in a socially distanced queue at the door, shoppers will now be able to take their place in a virtual queue with a new trial.
Sainsbury’s has partners with the ufirst app to test the system at just five of its stores to see how well it works.
Nigel Blunt, Director of eCommerce at Sainsbury’s, said: “We’re always on the lookout for how we can make our customers lives easier using technology.
“We’re trialling a virtual queuing system which enables shoppers to hold their place in the queue using their smartphone and we will be listening closely to feedback from our customers and colleagues.
“We’re also rolling out SmartShop Mobile Pay to even more convenience stores, offering customers fast and contactless shopping that will help them get in and out of the store even quicker.”
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