You would need to have been hiding under a huge pile of M&S knickers not to see that high street retail in the UK is changing.
Retailers need to reduce costs and increase efficiency in a challenging market where consumer spending is being squeezed and costs are rising. At the same time they need to invest in online, and develop smarter, personalised offers in addition to rethinking the role of their stores.
So what’s online retailer Amazon’s answer to high street retail? Well you could be surprised to learn that it’s opened its first high street grocery store. However, this is no ordinary grocery store. As you would imagine, the vast Internet-based enterprise that sells books, music, movies, housewares, electronics, toys, and many other goods, either directly or as the middleman between other retailers and Amazon.com’s millions of customers has a very different view on retail.
Amazon’s first automated grocery store promises, “no queues, no checkouts, no registers” – and could be a game-changer for the grocery and retail industry. It could also lead to even more job cuts in retail.
The single 1,800 square foot store is located in the middle of Amazon’s Seattle campus and, was first unveiled in late 2016, and was supposed to open to the public in early 2017. Yet until now, it has remained in beta mode for Amazon employees only, reportedly due to the very thing that makes it so interesting – technology that eliminates the cashier.
Amazon calls it “Just Walk Out” technology and it uses computer vision, deep learning algorithms and sensor fusion — many of the same advances being used to develop autonomous driving.
For customers, it’s simple: Scan your Amazon Go app as you walk into the store, pick up whatever you want, and simply walk out.
On the back-end, Amazon’s technology detects everything you’re taking or returning to shelves, keeping track in a virtual shopping cart. When you walk out, Amazon charges your account and sends a receipt.
Amazon has proved itself a world leader. The business certainly isn’t shy about swiftly killing the investments that aren’t working for them and some of their crazy investments have become huge wins — think Amazon Prime and Amazon Web Services.
This latest launch will absolutely give struggling high street retailers food for thought.
To find out more about Amazon Go, visit https://www.amazon.com/b?ie=UTF8&node=16008589011