January 2017

TRS partners with Tesco UK to trial our IOT and NFC-based Digital Receipt solution

Steve Slough, Managing Director

Tag Retail Systems first exhibited its unique ‘Black Box’ digital receipts concept at the Retail Business Technology Exhibition (RBTE) in May 2016.

One of our very first visitors on the stand was Tesco Technology, there to quiz us how we were gathering both receipt data and tying to the individual customer. Feeling more like a pitch on Dragons Den, we gave a thorough presentation of how our IOT and NFC-based solution worked alongside our first “Tap and Tag” branded Android Application and website.

An invitation to pitch to the head of Tesco Technology followed and with a successful ‘yes’ an agreement was reached to trial in a store close to Tesco’s head Office in Welwyn Garden City.

The challenge presented by Tesco was to get a digital receipt to a customer but with no changes to the POS software, hardware or printer and more importantly no need for the customer to give an email address or other contact information at the till. Quite a challenge then!

Due to the version variety of the POS hardware, we modified our Black Box hardware and tweaked the Tap and Tag Application (including an iOS release) and accompanying consumer website. By way of gauging different customer responses, before launch Tesco decided to expand the trial so we ran the trial in 2 Superstore format locations in Harlow and nearby Church Langley. In total this covered 44 checkout/bank tills and 4 Petrol Filling Station (PFS) PoS locations.

Also introduced for the proof of concept trial was the idea of “Short Receipts” which we now market as “Dynamic Print Management”. Knowing that the receipt paper bill for Tesco UK is over £2 million a year recurring and the costs of distributing, storing, changing and disposing of this paper adds even more to the annual cost, the idea of reducing an average 15cm receipt down to 5cm would have a major impact on costs. The Short Receipt would also allow the shopper to pass security checks while leaving store.

Our trials ran for a period of 6 months and Tesco Technology introduced the Digital Receipts concept to all areas of the Tesco UK business to evaluate (including our future colleagues in Tesco Central Europe) with a view as to how to introduce the technology into the mainstream business. During the trial we gathered over a million receipts with several million individual line items, a feature by Retail Week was picked up by national press including mentions in the Daily Mail, Independent and Sun newspapers, we also had a mention on the BBC website.

Whilst for a variety of business reasons the project didn’t move on to a roll-out, we did begin our relationship with Tesco Central Europe which strengthens from one year to the next and now includes opportunities into Tesco Asia. We maintain close ties with our contacts at Tesco UK and have subsequently helped on other projects in the UK such as the trial alongside Zebra mentioned in later posts.