Sainsbury’s SmartShop: Can scanning your own items save you money?

Man shopping in supermarket

If you’re a Sainsbury’s shopper, you may have come across Sainsbury’s SmartShop. It allows you to scan items before you put them in your trolley or basket. In return, you can score unique discounts and enjoy a faster checkout. But is it worth it?

Let’s take a look at the scheme in more detail.


How does Sainsbury’s SmartShop work?

SmartShop is a trial scheme developed by Sainsbury’s that allows you to scan your own items in store. To get involved, you must have (or sign up for) a Nectar card.

Once you’re a Nectar member, you can then download the SmartShop app for Android or for iOS. Alternatively, you can pick up a special in-store handset that you can pair with your Nectar card each time you shop.

When you scan your items in store, you’ll trigger occasional ‘offers’ on both branded and non-branded items. These offers are likely to include discounts on products you buy frequently, and they can save you as much as 30%.

You’ll also be able to see how long these offers will last, and once the offers expire, you’ll be given new discounts. Sainsbury’s says that personal offers will vary from person to person and will be based on individual spending habits. 

On top of any Sainsbury’s SmartShop discounts, you’ll also earn the usual Nectar points every time you shop at the supermarket. You’ll collect one Nectar point for every £1 you spend in store. Once you hit 500 points, you can redeem them for a £2.50 Sainsbury’s voucher. Alternatively, you may wish to redeem your points at other partner retailers, such as eBay and Habitat.

For more information on how to spend your points, you can visit the Nectar website.

How do you pay with Sainsbury’s SmartShop?

Aside from discounts, one of the other benefits of Sainsbury’s Smartshop is that you’ll skip traditional checkout queues.

That’s because once you’ve scanned your items via the handset or mobile app, you can use dedicated SmartShop checkouts. In theory, these checkouts should be less busy as users won’t have to spend time scanning items before paying.

Not all Sainsbury’s stores have SmartShop checkouts. However, Sainsbury’s says you’ll be able to use a normal self-service checkout that is ‘SmartShop enabled’.

What else do you need to know? 

If you use Sainbsury’s SmartShop with an in-store handset, you can only pay by card.

Plus, if you pick up any items that need to be weighed, such as loose fruit and vegetables, you’ll need to do this yourself in-store before you head to the checkout.

Finally, if you use the Sainsbury’s SmartShop app on your phone, you’ll need a decent mobile internet connection or you’ll have to rely on Sainsbury’s in-store WiFi.


Is there anything you can’t buy using SmartShop?

Yes. You can’t use Sainsbury’s SmartShop to buy any of the following items: 

  • Tobacco products
  • Lotto or Health Lottery tickets
  • Gift cards
  • Postage stamps
  • Mobile phone top-ups
  • PayPoint products

Sainsbury’s SmartShop: the verdict

It’s fair to say that Sainsbury’s is testing the waters with its new SmartShop scheme, hoping it will help speed up the check-out process. 

This is likely a good idea, considering the launches of ‘shop and go’ offerings from Asda and M&S in recent months, and the rise of checkout-less Amazon Fresh stores in parts of the UK.

With its new scheme, Sainsbury’s is hoping that its tailored discounts will promote customer loyalty amongst particular brands or products. The supermarket will also welcome the extra data it will be able to collect from the likely boost in Nectar sign-ups as a result of the scheme.

In terms of savings, it’s hard to say exactly how much you will save throughout the year as discounts vary from person to person. However, if you shop at Sainsbury’s anyway, then it may be worth signing up. 

Sainsbury’s claims that shoppers could be up to £200 per year better off. But whether this is an accurate figure in the real world is unknown given that the scheme is so new.

Do you collect Nectar points? Read our article to discover how you can grab a 20,000-point bonus.

The post Sainsbury’s SmartShop: Can scanning your own items save you money? appeared first on The Motley Fool UK.

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