Aldi goes head-to-head with Amazon as it launches checkout free store

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Aldi’s new Shop&Go store in Greenwich (Aldi)
Aldi’s new Shop&Go store in Greenwich (Aldi)

Aldi has entered the checkout-free shopping race, launching its first “Shop&Go” store in Greenwich.

The German discounter’s new store on Greenwich High Street lets customers simply pick up shopping items and walk out without scanning items or going to a checkout. Customers must first download an app, which tracks their shop through the store and charges them once they leave.

Giles Hurley, CEO of Aldi UK and Ireland, said: “Today is the culmination of months of work, not least from the team here in Greenwich and I’m looking forward to seeing how customers react to our trial.

“This store utilises the very latest in retail technology offering Aldi’s award-winning products and unbeatable prices to customers in a new and innovative way. The team are really excited about seeing customers come in and experience Aldi Shop&Go.”

Aldi goes head-to-head with Amazon, which has pioneered checkout free grocery shops and has a branch of its Fresh stores just over the river in Canary Wharf. Amazon launched its first checkout free store last March but has since expanded aggressively, ending the year with ten branches across London.

Tesco and Sainsbury’s have both also launched checkout free shops in recent months.

Aldi’s new Shop&Go location uses facial recognition technology to track customers through the store. It relies on tech developed by AiFi, a Californian company founded by former Apple and Google engineers. Aldi has also tapped up London-based Yoti to use its age estimation technology for verification when it comes to alcohol.

Lewis Esparon, store manager at the Greenwich site, said: “For us, steps like this are always about improving the customer experience and the whole team are looking forward to being on-hand and ready to help to ensure that experience is as smooth as ever.”