SmartShop, Growing From 2 Stores to the Whole Estate

SmartShop, Growing from 2 stores to the whole estate

When developers write blog posts to do with scaling, they more often than not talk about a particular part of their tech stack which was limiting their ability to scale, or even their architecture as a whole. I’ve found that people seldom talk about tackling the problem of scale of a whole product on a macro-level — how do you grow a digital product from a small trial to a business-as-usual service used by millions of customers? Self-scanning shopping wasn’t revolutionary when I joined Sainsbury’s 4 years ago.

Sainsbury’s already had a 3rd-party solution called FastTrack working in around 35 stores, but for many good reasons, Sainsbury’s decided to scrap our vendor solution before it was too late and develop their own product in-house. By late 2015, SmartShop (as it became known) was in “pilot” phase — live to customers in only 2 stores.