Sainsbury’s is trialling a new app which allows customers to scan and shop with their smartphone.

The grocer is asking 800 Nectar Card customers in the vicinity of its Tadley, Clerkenwell and Bethnal Green Sainsbury’s Local stores to “try out, review and shape the future of Mobile Scan & Go - a new app that lets you scan your items as you shop”.

Shoppers will use a QR reader to ‘check in’ when they enter a store, scan items as they go round and then checkout at a regular till without scanning the items.

Shoppers buying loose items can scan shelf-edge labels and weigh the items before receiving a printed sticker.

Grocers Tesco and Waitrose use similar Scan and Shop handheld devices in some stores but have not rolled the technique out.

Verdict analyst Cliona Lynch said: “This is an innovative move and moves things along as people are more used to using QR and shopping on their mobile.

“Once it has been explained by staff and people get used to it, it will save time. What will be interesting is whether it can be linked to mobile payment so people can shop right through the store without going to the checkout.”

The move comes a week after Tesco chief executive Philip Clarke said the grocer would put itself at the front of a “digital revolution” in retail with mobile playing a key part.

Competition is ramping up in grocery in the run-up to Christmas. Morrisons relaunched its £5 off a £40 spend campaign this week while Asda is offering free delivery on grocery orders until November 7.