Just over a year since it opened its first check-out free supermarket in the United States, Amazon is to follow suite with a new store in central London.
According to the trade publication The Grocer, Amazon has secured a central London retail space for its checkout-free Amazon Go food stores concept.
This would make the United Kingdom, Amazon’s first expansion of its automated convenience shops outside the United States.
Amazon had opened its first bricks-and-mortar supermarket to the American public in January 2018.
Since that time it has opened ten more of these stores in the United States. These store featured Amazon-developed technology that eliminates checkout queues.
The shops are branded as ‘Amazon Go’, and it essentially resembles a high-end convenience store.
Amazon’s move into the ‘bricks and mortar’ retail space on this side of the pond will be closely watched due to the new shopping experience it offers customers.
Essentially, the store relies on sensors, cameras and artificial intelligence systems to detect what shoppers are picking up, and bills them automatically.
The shopper has to download a smartphone app and leave a credit card on file. Users typically enter the ship via a gated turnstile, which scans the app to confirm their identity.
The shop’s monitoring systems then keep track of what the shoppers are picking up and putting back while in the shop, and they’re charged for what they’re still carrying when they walk through the exit.
Amazon Go stores typically sell salads, sandwiches and beverages and freshly prepared meals, as well as fruit and vegetables, staples such as bread and milk, artisanal cheeses, locally made chocolates, and snacks from Whole Foods.
Amazon of course purchased that high-end retailer for $13.7bn (£9.9bn) back in 2017.
If this Just Walk Out technology catches on with shoppers, it could mean major changes for high street shopping comparable to those Amazon has brought in for internet-based retail.
But it should be remembered that just because checkout tills have been removed, it doesn’t mean the shop is unstaffed.
Amazon utilises shop assistants, who stand by the entrance to greet those arriving and to check customers’ ages in the drinks section.
And it should be remembered that Amazon already sells food in the UK via its Amazon Fresh, Amazon Pantry and Amazon Prime Now services.