UK retailer Tesco has hooked up with Gillette in an instore pilot of new smart tag technology.

Radio frequency identification (RFID) chips are being used in a trial that could lead to the replacement of barcodes. The chips can be read wirelessly by a scanner, facilitating supply chain management. Staff can use the chips to monitor stock levels, sell-by dates and purchasing history. They will be attached to packs of Mach3 razor blades.

The tags could also deter shoplifters, as door scanners can detect if a product has not been paid for. They could eventually be attached to a wide range of food and nonfood products. The tags were developed by the Auto-ID Centre, a standards group set up at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and with research labs at Cambridge University.

Curtains for Dotty

Meanwhile, Tesco’s advertising campaign is to shift away from Dotty, the overbearing middle-aged shopper played by Prunella Scales, and her long-suffering daughter Jane Horrocks. Scales recently starred in her 56th Tesco commercial.

The new campaign will feature talking shopping trolleys gathered around moaning about how much work they have to do. The group is paying for well known actors to do the voiceovers for the trolleys, including David Jason and Kathy Burke.