Sainsbury’s is piloting checkout-free shopping in-store, allowing customers to pay via an app rather than queuing at the tills.

The app, which is still in development and has been made in-house, lets shoppers scan and pay for their items using their smartphones. 

It is being trialled at the grocer’s Euston station store in central London among customers who are purchasing Sainsbury’s £3 On the Go meal deal, which consists of a sandwich or salad, side and a drink.

Shoppers taking part in the pilot download the app to their mobile phone, scan their three items and pay within the app itself.

Once they have made the payment, they are free to walk out of the store.

The move marks Sainsbury’s latest attempt to speed up payment and fulfilment, as it presses ahead with boss Mike Coupe’s strategy to be there for its customers “whenever and wherever they want.”

The supermarket giant is already rolling out its SmartShop service, which allows consumers to scan items using a handset or their smartphones while they shop, before paying at dedicated checkouts.

Sainsbury’s said the service will be in close to 50 stores by the end of the year.

The grocer is also testing a one-hour home delivery service from two of its London stores via the Chop Chop smartphone app. 

Sainsbury’s head of customer experience Natalie Dunn said: “Experimenting with a checkout-free experience is a first for Sainsbury’s and for many of our customers, so we are keen to understand how we can take the concept and develop an offering that is a genuinely useful for those who shop with us.

“We may be some way off from rolling this out, but we’re excited to have taken the first step.”

Sainsbury’s isn’t the only grocer to experiment with different payment methods in order to make checking out quicker and easier for shoppers.

Its big four rival Tesco has developed Tesco Pay+, formerly known as PayQwiq, which allows shoppers to store their debit card and Tesco Clubcard details and pay for baskets worth up to £250 with one scan of their phone.

And etail titan Amazon is testing its Amazon Go convenience store at its headquarters in Seattle, which uses cameras and sensors to track which items customers take off shelves and automatically take payment as they leave the store.