Sainsbury’s is on the way to one to one mobile personalisation

Sainsbury’s has become the first of the supermarkets to launch a shopping app that lets customers scan all their items by smartphone as they shop and use it to pay at the checkout.


It paves the way for the kind of personal, one to one relationships that all marketers should be aiming for, and it won’t be long until similar mobile service are available at all the major supermarkets.

The Mobile Scan & Go app is being trialled at three stores and Sainsbury’s is hoping to get 800 customers signed up and using the service in the next few months. Their feedback will shape how the service develops and rolled out across Sainsbury’s.

Using the camera on a smartphone, shoppers scan the barcodes of items they put in their basket. It tots up the running total, applying any relevant in-store offers or deals, and then all you have to do is scan a QR code at the checkout and pay as normal. You don’t have to unload it all back through the checkout, or scan any products agin, you just pay and off you trot.

Scan & Go is not dissimilar to the self scan devices supermarkets like Waitrose and Sainsbury’s started introducing more than a decade ago. These were never a huge hit but the difference is that new consumers are more familiar with doing everything on their own handset.

It’s unlikely to be the mainstream option for most customers and it won’t replace checkouts, but it paves the way for a lot more personal interaction between Sainsbury’s and customers.

The app is tied to the Nectar programme and users have to be cardholders to sign up, which means Sainsbury’s will have a wealth of data on customers participating in the trial alongside their historical data.

The capability is not currently built into this trial version of the app, but further down the line Sainsbury’s plans to target shoppers with relevant offers and promotions at the shelf edge, when they are in shopping mode.


Sainsbury’s will know exactly when individuals enter its stores and log into the app. It will know their shopping history and recent purchases and most importantly It will be able to message each shopper directly, creating a one to one relationship with the shopper while they are in the store.

The supermarket will be able to upsell, make recommendations and highlight offers directly to customers. The possibilities for both Sainsbury’s and for brands is awesome and it’s what all marketers should be working towards.

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