Amazon successfully opened its physical, cashier-less store today. The convenience/grocery store, named Amazon Go, is located in Seattle, where Amazon HQ is based.
Up until now, the technology had only been tested by Amazon employees and after a year of the initial opening, it’s finally ready for public use.
The technology inside Amazon Go uses special cameras that work together with shelf sensors to track customer movements and adds items to their online account. The only thing customers have to do is arrive, use the Amazon Go app to enter and pick up their shopping. There are no queues and no fuss.
The 1,800 square foot space offers everything from bread to artisan cheese to special meals prepared by Amazon’s very own chefs and will be open Monday to Friday from 7am to 9pm.
When asked whether check-out free stores would have an impact on jobs, Amazon Go Vice President, Gianna Puerini told The Today Show that they are shifting the role of jobs, with more people in the kitchen prepping the fresh food sold in store rather than having people at the front. The stores also have staff in the stores at hand to provide a better customer experience.
Terry Hunter, UK Managing Director, Astound Commerce commented “Amazon – which has already revolutionised digital commerce – has now taken a similar approach with its bricks-and-mortar venture. The checkout-less Amazon Go supermarket has reinvented the traditional retail store, integrating digital technology in order to achieve a similar level of convenience as shoppers have grown accustomed to online. Many pure-play online retailers are now making efforts to create instore experiences to further grow their brands. By creating this ‘in-store’ experience, Amazon has added tangibility to its grocery offering which did not exist before.”
“Will other supermarkets follow Amazon’s example? In the short term, this is unlikely. Amazon’s market-leading position and online businesses will provide a financial cushion to support its push into physical retail. The new approach will also take some getting used to by shoppers: the camera identification and tracking technology in use in the store has experienced teething problems, and many consumers will likely see the move as a surveillance step too far.”
“However, Amazon’s innovative move solves many of the issues which currently deter shoppers from going in-store, and drive them online instead. Not having to queue and being able to make purchases quickly will draw consumers to the Seattle store, with the frictionless experience – which Amazon is already known for – driving consumer loyalty. Most importantly, though, is the link the company has established between online and physical retail, with items automatically charged to shoppers’ Amazon accounts.”
“Most other retailers will not be in a position to follow Amazon’s move at present. However, it is vital that brands innovate across all of their channels, and as Amazon has done, use bricks-and-mortar as an integrated digitalised part of a wider omnichannel strategy.”
Amazon says they have no plans on expanding to other areas. Pricing continues to be their main focus above all else. They want to remain the lowest and sharpest in the area, which may have local retailers in a frenzy. The question is: will they license the technology out to other retailers?