Aldi takes on Amazon Go: Supermarket is trialling its first checkout-free store in London where customers can pick up their shopping and walk out without having to pay a cashier

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  • Aldi is testing a new checkout-free store at an undisclosed London location
  • Customers check-in, put items in a bag and are automatically charged as they leave
  • It’s unclear how soon Aldi will make the new store format available to the public.
  • It is said to be similar in size and staffing to its Aldi local format stores

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Aldi is competing with Amazon Go by testing a checkout-free store that allows customers to shop in and out without paying the cashier.

The discount supermarket chain, known for fast scanning and fast cashiers, declined to say where the trial store was located, only that it is in London.

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Like Amazon’s Go Store, shoppers will scan a smartphone app to enter what they want to buy on the go, and the technology will track any items they pick up and their cards with those items when they leave the store. will charge.

Amazon is a little ahead of the game with this technology, having already opened several stores around the world, including six in London.

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Aldi, the UK’s fifth-largest supermarket group, said peers are currently testing the site and further tests will be conducted by members of the public, although it is unclear when.

The discount supermarket chain, known for fast scanning and fast cashiers, declined to say where the trial store was located, only that it is in London.

Like Amazon’s Go Store, shoppers will scan a smartphone app to enter, choose what they want to buy while walking around, and the technology will track any items they pick up and exit the store with those items. But will charge their card.

How does the Amazon Go Store work?

To start shopping, customers need to scan the Amazon Go smartphone app and pass through a gated turnstile.

Flashy black surveillance cameras above and weight sensors on the shelves help Amazon determine exactly what people take for granted.

If a person passes back through the gate with an item, his associated account is charged.

If a shopper puts an item back on the shelf, Amazon removes it from its virtual cart.

Aldi, Morrisons and other stores are expected to follow a similar process when they launch the system.

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Aldi said the first concept store will employ the same staff as a typical Aldi Local, the smaller format store in the chain.

Giles Hurley, CEO of Aldi UK & Ireland, said: ‘We have always wanted to redefine what it means to be a discount retailer, and the technology involved in testing this will give us a wealth of learning.

‘We are really excited to test this concept which will enable customers to choose from our range of quality products, all available at unbeatable prices, then leave the store without paying any extra.’

Monday’s announcement follows the launch of Aldi’s Click and Collect services last year, which has now expanded to more than 200 stores across the UK.

The firm has made several changes to its stores to limit its climate impact, including introducing fridge doors for the first time.

It says installing doors in its new and newly refurbished stores will result in savings equivalent to more than 2,000 tons of carbon emissions a year.

The change, which follows a successful trial, will reduce each store’s energy consumption by about 20 percent, which equates to a carbon emissions savings of up to 20 tons per store each year.

Amazon launched its own chain of Go convenience stores in the US in 2018 and are now found in Seattle, Chicago, San Francisco, New York City, and London.

Stores in the UK use the brand name Amazon Fresh, and use an Amazon account as the payment method when leaving the store with the item.

It’s unclear how the Aldi payment and checkout system will work, as little details have been released by the firm, but it is expected to be similar to Amazon Fresh.

Aldi, the UK's fifth-largest supermarket group, said affiliates are currently testing the site and that further tests will be conducted by members of the public.  It's expected to be connected to the smartphone app you scanned, similar to the Amazon system (pictured)

Aldi, the UK’s fifth-largest supermarket group, said affiliates are currently testing the site and that further tests will be conducted by members of the public. It’s expected to be connected to the smartphone app you scanned, similar to the Amazon system (pictured)

Supermarket chain Morrisons is also working on its cashierless retail store, which will allow customers to put items in and out of shelves in their bags.

The initial concept, nicknamed Project Sarah, is a compact version of the store and is designed to be ‘transportable’ – meaning the entire shop unit can be dropped directly into each location.

The transportable design means it can be located in areas that are not readily accessible to Morrisons stores, such as in university campuses or train stations, as well as on urban high streets.

Amazon is a little ahead of the game with this technology, having already opened several stores around the world, including six in London.

Amazon is a little ahead of the game with this technology, having already opened several stores around the world, including six in London.

It is unclear when Aldi will launch checkout-free stores for public use as it is still in the testing phase.

Ofrey Ben-Porat, CEO of EdGify, a retail technology firm that is developing AI systems for use at checkouts, described Amazon’s ‘Just Walk Out’ system as ambitious.

“As far as large-scale retail roll-out is concerned, it’s likely to be like flying cars going mainstream next year,” said Ben-Porat.

‘It’s not that the infrastructure isn’t there, it’s the inability for the whole sector to take the same leap forward. Established retailers won’t be able to copy Amazon’s model without tearing down their entire stores and starting from scratch.

“Aside from the huge financial implications, it’s also not possible to install thousands of cameras and sensors in every store and share that data with AWS, Google or Microsoft,” he said.

Ben-Porat said that if you combine this with the confusion of customers when they are asked to completely change the way they shop, it’s not something most retailers will be able to take for granted — yet.

His firm is developing software that uses artificial intelligence to…

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