Woolworths will trial technology in one of its stores in Sydney’s east that will allow a few thousand people registered in its loyalty program to scan and pay for items using just their smartphones.
The supermarket giant revealed details of the trial last night, which have been confirmed by iTnews.
“Thousands” of people already in its Rewards loyalty scheme will be offered a new mobile app called Scan&Go.
The trial will be available in just one store at Double Bay.
Participants will be able to scan the barcodes of items as they pick them up, and also weigh produce using a separate piece of equipment that spits out a separate barcode.
The app is technically capable of allowing customers to simply leave the store after shopping, since it is linked to a credit card.
However, Woolworths said it would require users to ‘tap off’ on a pole first, reportedly because some prospects had been uncomfortable at the prospect of simply walking out.
7News briefly showed the process in action in video shared on social media.
The trial is being run by its nascent WooliesX division, which runs its innovation and digital operations.
"This trial is not only about testing new technology, it’s also about seeing how our customers and teams respond to a completely new style of shopping," Woolworths head of payments Paul Monnington said in a statement.
"We have no doubt we’ll learn a lot during the course of the trial and we look forward to assessing future options after it finishes."
Trial participants will be offered the new app "in the coming months".
The Double Bay store will also "continue to offer self-serve check-outs and manned registers throughout the trial", the supermarket giant said.
There are no immediate plans for an expansion of the technology into other store operations.
Similar technology has been trialled by major retailers in other countries including Walmart in the US and Tesco in the UK. Walmart killed off its trial due to "lack of participation".
Amazon is also developing similar checkout-less technology and is up to its third store.