Tesco turns to cashier-less stores as competition with Amazon hots up

Tesco shoppers could soon be buying their groceries in futuristic checkout-less stores as the supermarket chain fights back against growing competition from e-commerce giant Amazon.

The British supermarket giant is developing technology that will allow customers to walk around its stores, load up their shopping bags and walk out without putting them through a till.

An artificial-intelligence powered camera network and sensors on shelves would detect what people are picking up and putting in their baskets, and automatically charge them for their shopping as they leave.

Customers would be prompted to add their payment details to an app, or use screens that show a running bill so that they can pay before they leave the store.

The technology, which is being developed in partnership with Israeli startup Trigo Vision, was showcased at a Tesco Express store during a capital markets day earlier this month.  Tesco declined to comment on the partnership and on how many stores might be adapted to use the technology.

Tel Aviv-headquartered Trigo Vision, which has $7m in seed funding from Hetz Ventures and Vertex Ventures Israel, has also partnered with Israel’s largest supermarket chain Shufersal, which will see its technology used across 272 stores.

The company claims that this technology can help supermarkets track inventory in real time and prevent shoplifting.

Tesco is among a group of UK grocers racing to compete with US e-commerce giant Amazon, which has already launched cashierless “Amazon Go” stores in several US cities and has plans to open a its first automated store near Oxford Circus, in London.

Amazon has also strengthened ties with Tesco rival Morrisons, in a move that would put it up against Ocado for supermarket delivery services.   Amazon launched its Fresh online food delivery service in 2016, but has yet to offer it outside of London and the south east.