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Business briefing: Sainsbury’s tests virtual queue from car or home

Appy shoppers: No need to wait in line

SAINSBURY’S has begun testing a virtual queuing system which allows shoppers to wait their turn to enter stores from the comfort of their car, a nearby cafe or their home.

By using a smartphone app, customers can eliminate the need to stand outside the store in a socially distanced line.

The retailer said the system, which runs via the app ufirst, is being piloted at five UK stores, in Uxbridge, Pimlico, Dome Roundabout in Watford, Leicester North and Newham Royal Wharf.

Nigel Blunt, director of ecommerce at Sainsbury’s, said: ‘We’re always on the lookout for how we can make our customers’ lives easier using technology.

‘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.’

The trial, which began yesterday and will run until mid-August, will test whether the technology will help customers stay safe, save time and shop conveniently in stores.

People can download the app on their smartphone and monitor their position in the queue and will be notified when they reach the front.

Customers without smartphones will not be disadvantaged as supermarket staff can add them to the queue, the retailer said.

Sainsbury’s 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.

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