Will UK Consumers Buy into Cashier-Free Shopping? - eMarketer
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Will UK Consumers Buy into Cashier-Free Shopping?

Barclaycard, Amazon moves may soon boost concept’s availability

May 31, 2017 | Retail & Ecommerce

Studies have found UK consumers lukewarm about cashier-free, in-store shopping. Nonetheless, Barclaycard and Amazon are reportedly working on plans to offer UK shoppers the ability to make in-store purchases directly from their phones without having to wait in a line.

According to Internet Retailing, credit card issuer Barclaycard is testing a mobile app-based system called Grab+Go that would allow cardholders in the UK to scan in-store purchases with their smartphones at participating retailers, complete their transaction with a single click and walk out of the store.

Barclays isn’t alone in seeking to streamline UK consumers’ checkout experience. Amazon appears to be prepping for something similar.

Most Important Attributes of the In-Store Experience According to UK Internet Users, Sep 2016 (% of respondents)

Earlier this month, the ecommerce giant applied to the UK’s Intellectual Property Office to trademark the tagline “No Lines. No Checkout. (No, Seriously.)” in use at its checkout-free grocery store concept shop in Seattle, Amazon Go, as well as registered a British English version, “No Queue. No Checkout. (No, Seriously.),” according to Bloomberg.

There’s no guarantee either effort will be rolled out fully to retail store shoppers in the UK, but if they do there’s little to suggest which way consumer sentiment will swing.

A September 2016 survey of UK internet users by PricewaterhouseCoopers, for one, found self-service checkout wasn’t particularly high on respondents’ list of “most important” in-store shopping experiences, chosen by the same four-in-10 share that considered an inviting ambience as especially important.

Other studies, though, hint that systems like those proposed by Barclaycard and Amazon could strike a chord with UK consumers.

Features that Would Influence UK Smartphone Owners to Make In-Store Mobile Payments, June 2016 (% of respondents)

A June 2016 survey of UK smartphone owners by payments provider TSYS found that 71% of respondents thought an ability to scan items in-store and then check out using their phone would influence them to make in-store mobile payments.

It’s hard to gauge actual enthusiasm toward cashier-free shopping from TSYS’ study, but it does point to the idea’s potential appeal. Barclaycard could be the first to find out. It plans to further test its concept in UK locations outside of its London offices “shortly,” according to Internet Retailing, with a wider public rollout to follow.

—Cliff Annicelli

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