UK’s Tesco Looking to Build Cashierless Stores As Competition With Amazon Heats Up

Posted on June 27, 2019 by Mehedi Hassan in Amazon with 7 Comments

UK’s Tesco is looking at new technologies as competition with Amazon is heating up in the country.

Tesco is actually working with Israeli startup Trigo Vision to build cashier-less stores that will allow the retailer to eventually eliminate cashiers on its stores in the future. Amazon has obviously invested in cashierless stores with Amazon Go in the United States, testing its own technology. It’s even planning to open its first Amazon Go store in Oxford Circus. The company also partnered with Tesco rival Morissons earlier this year.

And so, Tesco is getting ready for some major competition from Amazon. The new stores will use AI-powered cameras and sensors on shelves that will detect when people pick up products from shelves and pay from their phone as they leave the store, reports The Telegraph. The experience will likely work similar to Amazon Go, and Tesco apparently demoed the technology at a Tesco Express store earlier this month.

It’s not clear exactly how mature this new technology is yet, but Tesco will likely continue to push forward with the cashierless system as Amazon has no signs of slowing down. The cashierless stores would not only introduce convenience but could also help Tesco cut down on profit margins by — you guessed it — laying off its cashiers.

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Comments (7)

7 responses to “UK’s Tesco Looking to Build Cashierless Stores As Competition With Amazon Heats Up”

  1. wright_is

    What is wrong with the current (still current?*) system of scanning products into the shopping trolley and paying automatically when you leave? That's what I did the last time I was in the UK, scanned everything, pushed the trolley through the automated checkout, slotted the scanner into the POS terminal and paid with card and there were manned checkouts for those uncomfortable with the automation.

    • mattbg

      In reply to wright_is:

      I suspect the Amazon system generates far more data that would be even more useful for a supermarket. Such as, how people move around the store, how many items are picked up and then returned, different behaviours of different demographics, etc.

      Also, shoplifting. I don't know if shoplifting is becoming a larger problem in general, but I am seeing more stores these days putting more visible controls in place to fight it. In theory, if an AI system detects what you have picked up then there's no stealing. And if you get caught stealing and are banned, then you are banned through biometrics and possibly not even granted entry to the store. I don't know how well this works in practice but it sounds good :)

      • wright_is

        In reply to mattbg:

        The existing Tesco system has you scanning into the basket and scanning it back onto the shelf if you change your mind...

        • mattbg

          In reply to wright_is:

          It’s still very complex and error-prone on the user end. To be honest, I am quite tech savvy but never use these self-scan systems because I don’t want the hassle of being accused of stealing if it doesn’t work. I do use self-checkouts but that is all. Plus, I normally shop with a basket and have enough to carry and keep track of without a scanner or phone added to the process.

          If Amazon is really going to expand such an easy-to-use system then you really want the same unless you want to appear to use a second-rate alternative.

          Personally I am glad to see others trying to catch up with Amazon. The more people that do it, the cheaper and more rapidly the technology will expand.

  2. Thom77

    So Tesco is being funded by Israeli military intelligence contractors to put security cameras and other invasive infrastructure up in a foreign countrys shopping stores.................. to improve shopping experience.......

    Yeah right

    Hey UK ... the NSA called and wants in too

  3. hrlngrv

    Before they get too far into it, they should send someone to Northern California to visit a Lucky Supermarket to see how self-checkout stations should NOT be done. Do NOT make customers interact with the @#$%&*! screen until they've scanned their last item and want to pay.

  4. mattbg

    In reply to navarac:

    Agree - it is theft. Aren’t “shoplifting” and “theft” synonymous? It’s not like I said “borrowed without returning” or “left without attempting to pay” which I’d consider real euphemisms ?