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Aldi launches its first checkout-free store in London

The store uses facial age estimation technology provided by Yoti to verify the purchase of age-restricted products

Aldi has opened its first checkout-free store in London’s Greenwich, months after trialling a till-less supermarket in the Netherlands.

The Shop&Go store, which officially opened at 7am this morning on Greenwich High Street, allows customers to enter the store, pick up their items, and simply walk out with the receipt being issued on the Aldi Shop&Go app.

The store is currently in public trial mode, after being tested by employees “for months”, making Aldi the third UK retailer to trial the technology after Morrisons and Tesco.

Much like its competitors' efforts, Aldi's Shop&Go is powered by cameras supplied by US-based automated retail technology provider AiFi. It also employed as facial age estimation technology provided by London-based biometrics company Yoti, which will be used when shoppers purchase age-restricted products such as alcohol. Customers - who have the option to opt-out and instead have purchases verified by a store employee - will be able to confirm their identity using the Aldi Shop&Go app.

Aldi UK and Ireland CEO Giles Hurley said that he is “looking forward to seeing how customers react to our trial”.

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“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, “ he added.

Commenting on the launch of Aldi’s first checkout-free store, Samuel Mueller, CEO at augmented reality (AR) solutions provider Scandit said that today’s opening “comes as no surprise”.

“This move was to be expected by UK retailers after being squeezed by online giants like Amazon for over a decade,” he told IT Pro. The American online retail giant opened its first UK checkout-free store in March 2021 in London's Ealing, followed by stores in Islington and Dalston.

“We’re seeing many retailers turning to smart data capture and computer vision powered apps on consumer smartphones that offer a frictionless blend of digital and physical shopping. Consumers want the convenience and choice of self-scanning plus the ability to view real-time product information on their device before buying,” he added.

In October 2021, Tesco announced the opening of its first checkout-free store in London’s Holborn, following a successful two-year trial in Welwyn Garden City.

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