20 Jan 2022

Retail Tech Thursday: Smile you’re on camera! UK supermarket using facial age estimation tech to sell alcohol

Retail Tech Thursday is our weekly check-in here at Spreckley, where we share the most interesting retail and retail technology news, innovations, and trends.

Let’s take a deep breath and reflect on another eventful week in retail technology. This week, we take a look Aldi becoming the first of the five major supermarkets to trial age estimation technology to accurately predict customers’ ages when purchasing alcohol, as well as London’s first checkout-free store for a certain German giant.

Aldi debuts first checkout-free store in Greenwich

Aldi has opened the doors of its first-ever checkout-free store in the London borough of Greenwich according to a report in BBC News this week.

After months of testing with the grocer’s staff, Aldi’s “Shop&Go” concept store is now open for public testing. Customers can walk out of Greenwich High Street store after putting items in bags without scanning an item or visiting a till point.

“I cannot wait to show customers our new Aldi Shop&Go store. We have been working towards this day for several months now so it will be great to see how our customers react to the new technology,” said store manager, Lewis Esparon.

“For us, steps like this are always about improving the customer experience and the whole team are looking forward to being on-hand and ready to help to ensure that experience is as smooth as ever.” In order to use the store, customers must download the Aldi Shop&Go app which will allow them to enter the barriers to start shopping.

In the meantime, Tesco customers in High Holborn, London, can use the app to pick up the groceries they need and walk right out. The supermarket’s app charges customers for products directly after they have picked up their purchases using a combination of cameras and weight sensors.

Will we see a checkout-free Tesco in the near future?

5 major supermarkets to trial facial age estimation tech for buying alcohol

According to a report in this week’s iNews , Co-Op, Tesco, Asda, Aldi, and Morrisons are participating in a government ‘regulatory sandbox’ between January and May 2022, testing the technology’s ability to facilitate alcohol sales safely and swiftly.

The AI-powered system will be built into supermarket self-service terminals, taking photos of consenting customers’ faces for analysis and deleting them.

The technology will be integrated into self-serve terminals at supermarkets, which will take photos of consenting customers’ faces for analysis and then delete them when the process is complete.

Aldi UK and Ireland chief executive Giles Hurley said: “Today is the culmination of months of work, not least from the team here in Greenwich, and I’m looking forward to seeing how customers react to our trial. This store utilises the very latest in retail technology.”