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Sainsbury’s to trial virtual queuing system for shoppers

Image credit: reuters

The Sainsbury’s supermarket chain has announced plans to trial a virtual queuing system which will allow customers to wait their turn to enter stores in the current social distancing environment.

Customers will be alerted to enter a store from the comfort of their car, a nearby cafe or their home, for example, through a smartphone app, eliminating the need to stand in a socially distanced line outside the store. 

The system, which runs via the app ufirst, will be piloted at its stores in Uxbridge, Pimlico, Dome Roundabout in Watford, Leicester North and Newham Royal Wharf from today (27 July).

Sainsbury’s said the initiative, which will run until mid-August, will test whether the technology will help customers stay safe, save time and shop conveniently in stores.

“We’re always on the lookout for how we can make our customers’ lives easier using technology,” said Nigel Blunt, director of e-commerce at Sainsbury’s. 

“We’re trialling a virtual queuing system which enables shoppers to hold their place in the queue using their smartphone and we will be listening closely to feedback from our customers and colleagues.”

Customers can download the app on their smartphone and monitor their position from their car and will be notified when they reach the front of the queue. But it said that customers without smartphones can be added to the queue by store staff.

Sainsbury’s said it is also expanding its SmartShop mobile payment scheme to offer till-free shopping in more than 100 convenience stores across the UK by the end of this week. Blunt said the pay scheme will offer fast and contactless shopping that will help them get in and out of the store quicker. 

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