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At M&S we’ve talked a lot about going digital first with pace, and it’s crucial because it’s undeniable the world is changing and changing fast - by the end of 2018 30% of digital interaction will be via voice rather than keyboard – who would have imagined that 5 years ago?

Our digital transformation is happening fast - from the kick off or our new digital partnerships, to the growth of our online styling service Try Tuesday which is now at 150,000 members, to the simple but crucial improvements to our website - where site speed has been improved by 37%. Everyone at M&S has a role to play, and for me recently that’s meant running a store trialling Mobile, Pay, Go – a feature that helps busy customers avoid queues by allowing them to scan and pay for products on their mobile as they go and then checkout with their saved card details or Apple Pay.

With all these digital changes taking up our colleagues' time it made total sense to trial Mobile, Pay, Go at the store I work at because it opened in the basement of our London Office a few weeks ago and 40% of customers are colleagues. The trial’s been going with colleagues since we opened and over 1,000 have taken part. With 60% of transactions taking place between 12 – 2 it’s definitely helping busy colleagues get out into the sunshine quicker for their lunchbreak (or was before the rain came back)!

Like any trial we’re learning as we go – we’ve seen a lot of customers wanting to scan after they’ve collected all their products rather than as they go so we’ve installed a packing bench. Last week we rolled out to all customers so no doubt we’ll see more feedback over the coming weeks ahead of rolling out to other stores later this year.

Traditionally there’s been a fear that the rise of digital will drastically impact the role of the shopfloor worker. But a recent report from the institute of customer service looking at AI found that where companies are active in communicating their plans to integrate artificial intelligence and customer experience, it can have a positive effect on the team, and I think this is true of all tech innovation. Communicating the benefits of this project to my team has been crucial and in the short space of time we’ve been doing it they’ve seen this for themselves, the time it saves on the payment experience means we can have more colleagues where our customers want them – on the shop floor – making sure the fresh sandwiches are out, ready to give wine recommendations, able to quickly help locate the fruit & veg section.

As a team at Waterside we’re embracing technology because it’s helping us do a better job – much like innovation we’ve already introduced at M&S (like the Honeywell) and innovation that is yet to come.

Sometimes the pace of change is a bit overwhelming, lots of retailers will tell you that – but with so much more to come mostly it’s just exciting. Mobile, Pay, Go certainly is, so if you’re based near Paddington pop down and try it – it’s really simple, but of course the team will always be on hand to help