Amazon has unveiled a concept supermarket, where shoppers can buy groceries without queueing or paying at the till.
Called Amazon Go, the futuristic supermarket is already open to its employees in Seattle. It will open to the public in early 2017.
In a promotional video for Amazon Go, a consumer enters a store and checks in using the Amazon app. They then pull products off shelves, with Amazon using “computer vision deep learning” and sensors to add them automatically to the consumer’s online basket. Amazon will also understand if a consumer changes their mind and puts a product back on the shelf.
Amazon has dubbed this “Just Walk Out” technology, meaning a consumer can take what they need and leave the store. Amazon will automatically charge the user’s account and send a receipt via the app.
Amazon Go will apparently only offer food, from ready-to-go meals from the counter to grocery basics and own-brand meal kits.
The move sees Amazon trying to shore up one of its weak points – physical stores. Although the company is taking on the supermarkets with its Amazon Fresh delivery service, retail experts point out that grocery loyalty is driven by the location of stores, not e-commerce. Just 7% of UK grocery sales take place online, and retailers such as John Lewis and Tesco point out that it’s the mix of online and offline that is proving more popular with click-and-collect.
‘Amazon shows off queueless supermarkets’, (campaignlive.co.uk), Shona Ghosh, December 2016
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