Supermarkets have longed to rid themselves of the checkout till. Think of the staff wages they can save and the easy of selling if the customers do all the work for them. They will only need to stack the shelves and we will do the rest. Little by little, the food chain stores are providing more self checkouts and less conventional tills. While payment by card is quickly replacing cash. However, we shoppers still need someone on hand to sort-out that 'strange item in the bagging area' - but even that is about to change.

A 'Scan And Go' smartphone phone app is being launched by retailer Marks & Spencer marking the final nail in the coffin of the checkout till. It seems that we will be able to shop and pay on our mobile without visiting a till. The new technology means an end to queuing and M&S claim that a lunch meal can be purchased in under 40 seconds. The new service will start in six London stores over the coming weeks and I understand that the Co-op and Sainsbury's are running similar trials on apps where shoppers can scan items with their mobile phone and pay on-line.

The UK press this week quote an M&S representative as saying, 'Digitally enabled stores that offer a seamless customer experience are a crucial part of our transformation and our ambition to be a Digital First retailer'. That's impressive 'marketing' speak for 'staff redundancy'. Maybe it's time for shoppers like me and you to boycott the 'fast-tills' and 'self checkout' aisles in favour of a friendly face to scan our groceries and accept our cash. As for these new apps, if you want a 'seamless customer experience' just shop from home, that way you don't have to leave your armchair or talk to anyone!         


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