Aldi has opened its first checkout-free store using high-tech cameras that follow shoppers and identify the goods they put in their baskets.
The new Aldi site in Greenwich, south-east London, which opened at 7 am this morning ‘for public testing’, will also allow customers to buy alcohol, using facial age estimation technology to check whether they appear to be over the age of 25.
The move follows in the footsteps of rivals Amazon and Tesco, who have both opened checkout-free stores.
A series of cameras installed in the ceiling follow customers as they do their shopping, and then bill them when they leave.
Aldi had been trialing the store with employees over the past few months before launching the service on Tuesday.
The aim is to end long queues in stores and could lead to more sites opening.
Customers must register with Aldi’s Shop&Go app, which will allow them to enter the store, pick up their items, and then walk out.
Aldi said customers wishing to purchase alcohol will be able to use facial age estimation technology to authorize their purchase.
The technology, provided by Yoti, enables customers to confirm their identity via the app. Anyone who opts out will be age-verified in store.
How the ‘just walk out’ system works
Customers log into their Aldi Shop&Go app and enter the store.
Specially positioned cameras follow the shopper around the shop and monitor the items they pick up.
When a customer picks up an item, the system adds it to their shopping basket.
If they return the item it is automatically removed.
The system uses facial age assurance technology if a customer picks up alcohol.
The cameras will determine if a customer is over 25. If they look under 25 they will have to see a member of staff.
When leaving the store, the customer is charged for the goods they have taken.
Their shopping receipt is automatically sent to their app or their email account.