Britain is braced for a retail revolution with the news that Amazon is preparing for the first opening of its Go store on UK shores.
The development is likely to be of concern to many of the top supermarket brands. Why? Because Amazon is set to make the shopping experience quicker and easier. Customers at Go stores are only required to check in as they enter the store, before picking up their items and then walking away. That means no queuing, or even waiting while a cashier scans and bags your items.
How does it work? Customers signed up to Amazon will have their account debited automatically for the items they take, because a range of different technologies, including devices connected via the Internet of Things (IoT), are able to detect which items are taken by which customers.
Like so many of the most amazing innovations in 2017, the Amazon Go system works entirely through an app which will interact with sensors at the store. It is a new form of cashless payment which negates even the need to touch or swipe a bank or store card.
Had second thoughts about lasagne for dinner, and want to reverse your decision to a shepherd’s pie? That’s no problem; Amazon have thought things through and even accounted for this eventuality in the design of their Go store systems.
Commentators have already begun weighing up the implications, and have highlighted that the major supermarkets might view the development as a threat. The news comes at a time when Aldi and Lidl are already being credited with shaking up competition in the market since their expansion in the UK.
According to Amazon: “Our checkout-free shopping experience is made possible by the same types of technologies used in self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning.”
It appears that Amazon might have some initial teething problems to overcome before their Go stores take the UK market by storm – it was rumoured that a test store in Seattle, USA, was abandoned after the system struggled to deal with over 20 shoppers at once. As well as all the grocery essentials you would expect from a supermarket, Amazon Go will offer meal kits, allowing shoppers to conjure up their own feasts at home.