Hybrid autonomous Tesco Express on Chiswell Street in Central London
This technology is the combination of a partnership with an Israeli startup called Trigo. They bring in all the capabilities, how you do the virtual basket creation, so the whole entire experience we have curated, making sure that our customers have the great experience that they would expect from Tesco. So here you are in a normal Tesco Express store, with the normal range, and with all the wonderful items you would expect from Tesco, and the prices are still the same, and the customer and our colleagues are equally, always there to help you [and] make sure you have the best shopping experience ever.
Central London, we meet again
Chiswell Street, located in one of Central London’s neighborhoods, is famous for being the birthplace of Whitbread, the first purpose-built mass-production brewery in the UK. The area is also one of the UK’s cultural hubs: a mere five-minute walk from Chiswell takes you to the iconic Barbican centre, Europe’s largest multi-arts and conference venue, and home to the London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, and Royal Shakespeare Company.
Chiswell and its surrounding neighborhoods are also considered one of London’s economic centers. Another short walk north of Chiswell brings you to the East London Tech City, where some of the world’s tech giants have opened innovation hubs. In other words, this is where you’ll find young professionals on the move at all times – on their way to the office, after-work drinks, or grabbing a quick lunch throughout the day.
The high volume of tech-savvy young professionals on Chiswell was one of the drivers – and differentiators – behind the location choice for one of Tesco’s latest autonomous stores. The demographic of young, on-the-go shoppers in a commercial area is fairly similar to Tesco’s High Holborn location open to the public since last year. With nearly a year of data and insights from High Holborn, Tesco and Trigo applied these learnings to the Chiswell store to provide another seamless shopping experience for the on-the-go shopper in Central London.
One of the highlights of the Chiswell store is the wide array of meal deals for this shopper profile who wants to grab breakfast on their way to the office or a fast and easy lunch during the middle of their hectic workday. Unlike the High Holborn location, the Chiswell location will operate as a hybrid store; opening another store in a high-traffic area with the on-the-go shopper profile under the hybrid format gives Tesco an additional way to provide its customers with the best shopping experience.
Perfecting autonomous store deployment
The Chiswell store kicks off Tesco’s implementation of additional autonomous stores throughout the UK. The defining feature of these additional stores is that the customer is at the center, a value deeply ingrained in Tesco’s DNA. Tesco used its experience from its previous stores and user research and testing to find additional ways to leverage computer vision technology and make the customer experience even better and more seamless in these additional stores.
One of the focal points in perfecting the deployment was enabling the technology to support Tesco’s entire product line in all of the additional stores, adding products such as newspapers and magazines, frozen foods, and a Krispy Kreme donut stand – an iconic fixture in hundreds of Tesco stores. Additionally, based on user research and the emphasis on customer experience, Tesco eliminated scanning at the entry gates for the autonomous store experience and introduced a new solution where customers will only have to scan their Tesco app at the exit gates when they finish shopping.
Tesco’s breadth of experience and ambitious innovation goals set high standards for scale and process, so we established a blueprint to maintain the pace, support all the offerings, and seamlessly open up stores in different cities and customer profiles, in parallel.
The innovation doesn’t stop here, there are big projects in the works to make the experience more seamless, faster, and easier, even for the most tech-averse. Together, we are working to make autonomous store tech more broad-reaching and accessible to all.