Sainsbury's is trialling a virtual queuing system - this is how it works

Sainsbury's has started trialling a new virtual queuing system which aims to get rid of lengthy physical queues outside its shops.

Customers can now abide by social distancing rules without having to stand around in order to enter the grocery store, simply by using a smartphone app.

After opening the app they will be entered into a virtual queue where they can then wait to be given permission to enter the store from the comfort of their car. Customers can also join the queue from their home if they live not too far away, or even a nearby coffee shop.

The trial is a UK first and will run via an app called ufirst from Monday 27 July.

What if I don’t own a smartphone?

Sainsbury’s has assured customers that the launch of the app will not place those without access to a smartphone at a disadvantage in the queuing system.

Anyone without access to the app who wishes to be placed in the virtual queue can ask staff to add them.

Which stores will trial the app first?

The trial of the virtual queueing app will only be available for five stores initially.

These stores are Dome Roundabout in Watford, Uxbridge, Pimlico, Newham Royal Wharf and Leicester North.

Sainsbury’s will observe how customers respond to the app, along with whether or not it aids employees in managing physical queues. The trial will be live until mid-August.

What other new tools has Sainsbury's introduced?

The supermarket chain has also launched a SmartShop Mobile Pay, which gives customers a contactless way to pay for their shopping without going through a checkout.

Customers can use the app on their own smartphones to scan and pay for their items in store, while tracking how much they are spending as they shop.

The app is currently running in over 75 Sainsbury’s Locals and an additional 40 convenience stores will soon follow.