Online retail giant Amazon is set to open its first physical stores in the UK ‘this week’, according to reports – but as you’d expect from a company which has led innovation in the web marketplace, its bricks and mortar stores will be different too.
The retailer has already opened several stores in the US to great success, but the reported opening of its first one – in Ealing, London, according to The Daily Mail – is a landmark move for the company, and the UK high street as a whole.
Reports suggest Amazon is eyeing up some 30 stores in the UK, should this opening venture prove successful.
On their first visit to Amazon Go stores, customers will realise that there are no actual check-outs. That doesn’t mean you get to go on a shoplifting frenzy, though, because Amazon uses technology instead to track what you’re purchasing.
The Just Walk Out technology means that customers are able to avoid queuing, thus able to speed up their shopping experience.
When entering the store, they must scan the supermarket’s app on the gated turnstile.
They are then monitored by cameras from above, while weight sensors in the shelves help Amazon determine exactly what people take.
The items that customers then pick up are added to a virtual shopping cart, and anything they put back is automatically deleted from it.
There are some staff, even though there are obviously no checkout workers. Instead, the employees on the shop floor will be there to assist customers and replenish stock.
Although this all sounds a bit like something out of a dystopian future sci-fi movie, it does help with the practicalities of cashless payment in these pandemic times.
Plus, although they’re not fully automated, we’re now well-versed in self-checking out thanks to stores like Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and M&S, which let you scan items as you shop and then pay at a self-checkout.
In fact, Tesco first tested a completely cashless store in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, back in 2018.
It proved successful enough that the supermarket opened another self-service checkout-only branch in London last year.
Sainsbury’s was another to launch a till-free grocery shop in 2019, with customers to its branch paying using their smartphones.
So in reality it seems like Amazon Go may be in fact be the next logical step for our physical shopping experience.
An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment when approached by LADbible.