One day soon, customers in the Co-op may be able to check-out their own purchases on their phone, without visiting a till.
The food retailer is trialling “pay in aisle” technology in a store located at its support centre in Manchester, and a wider roll-out could begin as early as this summer.
Customers will use a mobile app which is linked to their Co-op Membership account and is built with Mastercard’s secure digital payment technology.
Each time they choose an item from the shelves, they scan the product on their own device. When they have finished shopping, the amount they owe is deducted from their account with a single click.
For those who want to stick with conventional payment methods, manned checkouts and self-service tills will still be available.
Retailers face the challenge of meeting the needs of consumers who are moving at different speeds in the adoption of technology, said Elliott Goldenberg, head of digital payments at Mastercard UK.
This new mobile payment option offers those who want a “fast and frictionless buying experience” a secure and reliable way to pay, he added.
The Co-op is not the only retailer exploring the possibilities of payment via smartphone.
Tesco has the Pay+ mobile wallet app, which is linked to the customer’s Clubcard account and is used for paying at the till.
Meanwhile, Sainsbury’s offers the Smartshop app, which customers can use to scan items with their phone and then pay at the checkout. It has also trialled an app that can be used to pay for a meal deal without having to queue at the tills.
And in the US, online retailer Amazon has a real-world store with no checkouts at all. Instead, it uses cameras and sensors to identify each customer and track the items they select, before taking payment automatically.