The prospect of a free supermarket has gone from being something you fantasize about after queuing for five minutes, to almost reality in a few months. Last year, Amazon introduced a queuing shopping experience, allowing customers to simply walk into an Amazon Go store, pick up an item and walk away. It looked like a robbery store, but the store would know all your details and then it will automatically charge you for what you bought.
Surprisingly, Amazon Go has already received a lot of attention, so it was only a matter of time before others started looking for technology to break the lines. This week, banking giant Barclaycard unveiled its own plans to create free-to-pay stores, but unlike Amazon Go, its concept doesn’t require a high-tech store.
While Amazon Go uses tracking technology for products and customers that may tend to «scare» , the Barclays scheme allows users to scan items in a store with a smartphone app and then leave without a physical payment.
Like Amazon, Barclays has pursued this service with its own employees, so the general public is not yet able to take advantage of it. Barclays headquarters in London was the only location for the unnamed pilot at present. However, there are now plans to launch in other parts of the UK and in New York (though only in their offices for now).
Usman Sheikh, director of design and experimentation at Barclaycard, said retailers will not need to do anything new themselves, as all technology is «in their pocket». Barclays wireless shopping could be integrated even through the retailer’s own application.
Waitrose already operates a similar service, but this still requires a box to check someone’s basket. Barclays is trying to take this idea a step further, allowing stores to monitor live transactions and then check customer receipts to counter thieves. Barclays says a UK retailer will officially test the plan next year.