Never queue again with Aldi’s first checkout-free supermarket

As well as its infamous Speciabuys, Aldi is equally well-known for the lightning speed at which its checkout staff put items through the till in a bid to get shoppers in and out of the store as quickly as possible. Now, the budget supermarket has taken things one step further with its first checkout-free store.

Getty Images

Called Aldi Shop&Go, the till-free experience is being trialled in London’s Greenwich store, where technology is being used so that shoppers have no need to queue up and pay for their items at the end. Instead, they simply walk out of the store, and their accounts are automatically charged with the right amount.

So how does it work? First, you must sign up to a free app called Aldi Shop&Go and register by adding a payment card. The app generates a QR code which you scan to gain entry to the supermarket – you can’t get in the store otherwise.

Aldi shop&go

Once inside, shoppers have noted that, while it’s smaller than other Aldi stores, it has everything you’d expect to find inside any supermarket – fruit and veg, baked goods, dairy products, meat, store cupboard items, toiletries and more. One unfortunate change is there’s no Specialbuys aisle in this store, something many shoppers travel specifically to an Aldi store to peruse.

The really clever bit is how they track what you’ve purchased. The whole shop is rigged with technology that allows it to monitor every item you pick up and put in your trolley – it even knows if you decide to put something back, so you can browse at ease – and your card is charged when you leave the store, without ever having to scan anything or wait in a lengthy queue at a till.

supermarket fruit and veg
Getty Images

Age-restricted items aren’t a problem either – when you pick up a bottle of alcohol, for example, you immediately get a notification on your phone prompting you to verify your age by taking a picture of yourself. The app uses facial age assurance technology to estimate your age, but if you don’t want to use that or don’t want to remove your face mask, you can go to a member of staff who can verify your age instead.

Some shoppers have noted that it takes a while for the receipt to come through to their phone once they’ve left the store, verifying that they have paid for the correct items. However, Aldi says if there is an error with a receipt you can request a refund through the app within 28 days of purchase.

The Aldi checkout-free store isn’t the first of its kind – Amazon, Tesco and Sainsbury’s have all trialled till-free stores before now.

For now, the Aldi checkout-free store can only be found at the Greenwich location, so those of us who loathe supermarket queues can but hope for a wider roll-out soon.