Sainsbury’s are to trial a brand-new virtual queuing system to allow customers to wait their turn to enter stores from the comfort of their car, a nearby cafe or their home.

Customers will be able to join the line to shop in stores by using a smartphone app, eliminating the need to stand in a socially distanced line outside the store.

When will the trial begin?

The retailer said it started the trial across five UK stores from yesterday (Monday, July 27). If succcessful it is likely it will be rolled out across all its stores in the country. 

Where will the trial take place?

The system, which runs via the app ufirst, will be piloted at its stores in:

  • Uxbridge, London
  • Pimlico, Westminster
  • Dome Roundabout, Watford
  • Leicester North
  • Newham Royal Wharf, London

How will it work?

Sainsbury’s said the initiative, which will run until mid-August, will test whether the technology will help customers stay safe, save time and shop conveniently in stores.

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Customers can download the app on their smartphone and monitor their position from the comfort of their car and will be notified when they reach the front of the queue.

What have Sainsbury's said about the trial?

However, it said that customers without smartphones can be added to the queue by store staff.

Sainsbury’s said it 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.

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.

“We’re also rolling out SmartShop Mobile Pay to even more convenience stores, offering customers fast and contactless shopping that will help them get in and out of the store even quicker.”