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Coles could be checkout-free in just ten years according to a leading executive predicting customers will just ‘walk out’ with their shopping. In speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, head of commercial and express, Greg Davis highlighted the supermarkets ‘Smarter Selling’ initiative. Coles is set to strip $1 billion from its cost base by 2023, as it continues to battle rivals Aldi and Woolies. Following in the footsteps of technology giant Amazon, who run and operate several checkout-free Go stores across Australia, Coles will be looking to implement this seamless shopping experience.
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Woolies is also reportedly preparing its own checkout-free service called Scan&Go, which requires users to scan items using their phone which doubles as the POS. The app is available to all Woolworths Reward customers, though only at ten locations around Australia. According to Mr Davis, half of all Coles customers use self-checkouts, with the supermarket already making efforts to completely automate distribution through robotics companies such as Witron and Ocado. Changes made to Coles supply chain and ‘Smarter Selling’ programs reportedly cost the company $164.5 million. Artificial intelligence is also set to play a big role in supermarket technology using advanced analytics to promote products that are tailored to individual stores. It comes as Coles reported an 8.3% earnings reduction, with Chief executive Steven Cain expressing concern about the companies profitability. ‘We are heading into the most competitive period in Coles’ history, and there are significant industry-wide cost headwinds’.
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