10 April 2017 - Janet Bird
It may be one of the things Brits famously do best, but queuing to pay in stores could soon be a thing of the past, a new study suggests.
Research released by retail consultants Zebra Technologies suggests that a quarter of UK retailers are planning to eliminate queues by 2021 through the introduction of mobile payment options.
The study revealed that the number of purchases made at traditional staffed point of sale checkouts are already in decline. In 2012, 71 percent of transactions were made at such pay points, a figure which had fallen to 52 percent by this year.
Retailers such as Waitrose and Zara are already using the kind of technologies which could be used to combat queues to pay in the future.
Waitrose customers can upload their shopping list on a hand-held scanner which then tracks their position in store, reminding them when they are close to goods on their list. The Bluetooth device also lets them scan items as they shop, speeding the checkout process.
In Zara, high tech clothing tags currently let staff know where items are in the store. In the future, these tags could help customers find items they want, scan them and pay via their smartphones without having to visit a staffed point of sale checkout.
Zebra Technologies said their research revealed a desire on the part of retailers to put power in the hands of shoppers.