Barclaycard set to take on Amazon Go in checkout-free shopping

The prospect of a checkout-free supermarket has gone from something you fantasise about after standing in line for five minutes, to near reality in a matter of months. Last year Amazon showcased a queue-free shopping experience, allowing customers to simply walk-into an “Amazon Go” store pick up an item and leave. It sounded a lot like shoplifting, but the store would know all your details and then charge you for whatever you bought automatically.

Barclaycard set to take on Amazon Go in checkout-free shopping

Unsurprisingly Amazon Go has already recieved a lot of attention, so it was only a matter of time before others began to pursue line-busting technology. This week, banking giant Barclaycard has unveiled its own plans to create checkout free 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 might have a tendency to “freak out”, Barclays’ scheme lets users scan items throughout a shop with a smartphone app, and then leave with no physical checkout.

Much in the same vein as Amazon, Barclays has been trailing this service with its own employees, so the general public can’t take advantage of it yet. Barclays’ headquarters in London has been the sole location for the currently nameless pilot. However, there are now plans to roll out elsewhere in the UK and in New York (though only at their offices for now).

Usman Sheikh, Barclaycard’s director of design and experimentation has said that merchant’s won’t need to do anything new themselves as all the tech is “in your pocket”. Barclays queue-free shopping could even be integrated through a retailer’s own application.

Waitrose already operates a similar service but this still requires a till to verify someone’s basket. Barclays is trying to go a step further with this idea, allowing shops to monitor transactions live, and then check customer’s receipts to counter shoplifters. Barclays says a UK high-street retailer will officially pilot the scheme next year.

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