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Tesco Looks at Amazon’s Surveillance Shopping and Says ‘Yes Please’

Amazon Go has its first U.K. rival

A photo of the entrance and exit to Tesco’s no-checkout supermarket in London, with plastic barriers
The Tesco “Get Go” store in High Holborn, which has no checkout technology

British supermarket giant is rivalling Amazon in the surveillance shopping stakes by opening its first checkout-free supermarket, Tesco Get Go. The store has opened on High Holborn in central London, and like Amazon Go — which opened its first U.K. supermarket in Ealing in March — allows customers to just walk in, pick up their groceries, and walk out.

The tech is facilitated by Tesco’s app for which the supermarket is named, Get Go. As at Amazon’s supermarkets, while the locations are marketed as cashierless, and there are no self-checkout machines to abuse customers for misusing the bagging area in sight, staff are needed for shelf stocking and ID-checking if customers wish to buy alcohol.

Tesco has an obvious advantage over Amazon in this endeavour: it’s a supermarket, not the e-commerce monolith of a bald space villain who enjoys dabbling in the grocery arena. The choice of food is necessarily wider, and there’s no “groceries ... From ... Amazon ... ?” mental block to overcome. It remains to be seen whether or not Tesco’s U.K. competitors will follow suit.

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