Marks & Spencer Expands Scan-and-Go Mobile Payments

The UK retailer, well-known for ready-made meals, is now letting more shoppers than ever scan items with their phone and pay right away.

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Need to Know

  • Leading UK grocer and retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) is rolling out a “Mobile Pay Go” app that will eliminate the need to visit a cashier or checkout.
  • M&S earned $13.4 billion in revenue in 2019, with $7.6 billion representing food revenue.
  • The new Mobile Pay Go pilot will be expanded from six test stores to 50 stores in central London.
  • M&S has 1,035 stores in the UK and 428 stores worldwide, spread across 57 countries with 80,000 employees in total.

Analysis

M&S is rolling out a “Mobile Pay Go” app that will allow customers to pay for products using the M&S app. M&S is confident in its Mobile Pay Go technology, expanding from six test locations to 50 more stores, the majority of which are in central London. 

Mobile Pay Go offers a checkout-free experience that asks shoppers to scan their selected foods with the M&S app and pay for it with the card on file. This removes the friction of standing in line, paying at the cashier, and allows customers to pay for a quick meal or snack within 40 seconds, if they wish.

At the six original pilot stores, there was a Mobile Pay Go checkout every three seconds, which is helpful for ready-made meal sales since M&S sells over two million sandwiches a week.

The locations for Mobile Pay Go were chosen based on their popularity during peak times, where they found that 45% of Food to Go transactions happened between 12pm and 2pm. M&S is well-known for its ready-made options, so expanding the pilot to serve these locations will likely onboard shoppers looking for a quick meal.

Joe Erskine, Store Manager at M&S Clapham Junction SW11 said, “We all know how fast-paced London life is and how busy our customers are, so the great response we’ve had to Mobile Pay Go has been no surprise to us here at Clapham Junction. Making it as easy as possible for customers to come in, purchase our products and be on their way is hugely important to us.”

Other retailers have tested the scan-and-go model, like Walmart, Loblaw, and Amazon. Some tests have been more successful (Loblaw, which is currently expanding its test), than others (Walmart, who started with 20 test locations and dwindled it to three).

Retailers found that not everybody wants a digital experience or minimal interaction with a cashier, but with rising pressure of increasing revenue and digital-first strategies, retailers are eager to test what the public will adjust to and enjoy. 

Sacha Berendji Director of Retail, Operations and Property at M&S said, “M&S is changing to become a Digital First retailer with industry-leading store operations—and Mobile Pay Go is a really exciting part of that. Today’s rollout means more of our customers will be able to benefit from this popular technology and enjoy a seamless shopping experience—which we know is especially important at lunchtime.”

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