Morrisons latest to launch AI-powered checkout-free store system

Morrisons has become the latest major supermarket to go cashierless as the trend pioneered by Amazon looks set to sweep the UK.

The UK’s fourth largest grocer has reportedly been testing a concept store with no checkouts or staff at its headquarters in Bradford.

According to The Mail on Sunday, the store is currently only open to Morrisons staff but is in the late stages of development suggesting it could soon be launched publicly.

Dubbed “Project Sarah” internally, the store uses sensors and cameras provided by US tech company AiFi which will automatically track any items a customer puts in their basket and charge their accounts as soon as they walk out.

This system was first introduced in Amazon Go convenience stores in the US, but has been rolled out to five physical Amazon Fresh stores across London since the start of the year.

Since Amazon’s “Just Walk Out” technology has made its way to the UK, a number of major retailers including Tesco have been experimenting with their own version of the technology.

Similar to Morrisons, Tesco launched tested its autonomous store system at its head office in Welwyn Garden City, before announcing a second location would open to the public earlier this month.

READ MORE: Tesco introduces autonomous store system to compete with Amazon Fresh

“Till-less stores present a model that could flip retail on its head, so it is interesting to see that the first big supermarket chain, Morrisons, is making this move,” CI&T’s retail industry lead Melissa Minkow said.

“The till-less model seems to fit most comfortably into categories where customers rarely need advice, like grocery shopping and personal care, so it is no surprise that supermarkets are becoming early adopters.”

“For consumers, till-less indulges mission-based shopping – you can get in and out swiftly and avoid the browsing and queuing if you stick to your shopping list. At the same time, you are getting out of the house. It’s experiential, bridging the gap between social activity and digital convenience.”

“When done correctly, till-less retail actually contributes to a richer shopping experience. This is because the model begins and ends with customer data. Whole new fields of customer insight and analytics can be opened up. It’s no longer a matter of just knowing what a customer has bought, but also how long they spent in the store and browsing what aisles.”

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