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Sainsbury’s to trial virtual queuing system for shoppers

The pilot will take place at its stores in Uxbridge, Pimlico, Dome Roundabout in Watford, Leicester North and Newham Royal Wharf.

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People observe social distancing while queuing at a Sainsbury’s supermarket at Colton, on the outskirts of Leeds (Danny Lawson/PA)

People observe social distancing while queuing at a Sainsbury’s supermarket at Colton, on the outskirts of Leeds (Danny Lawson/PA)

People observe social distancing while queuing at a Sainsbury’s supermarket at Colton, on the outskirts of Leeds (Danny Lawson/PA)

Sainsbury’s is to trial a new virtual queuing system which will 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.

The retailer said it is starting the trial across five UK stores from Monday.

The system, which runs via the app ufirst, will be piloted at its stores in Uxbridge, Pimlico, Dome Roundabout in Watford, Leicester North and Newham Royal Wharf.

We will be listening closely to feedback from our customers and colleaguesNigel Blunt, Sainsbury’s

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.

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.

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.”

PA