Amazon ‘looking at opening c-stores’

Amazon is reportedly considering opening hi-tech ‘bricks and mortar’ c-stores.

The Seattle-headquartered online retail giant is apparently looking to build stores that sell fresh produce, milk, meat and other perishable items that customers can take home, media reports coming out of the US suggest. The idea is that primarily using their mobile phones or touch screens around the store, customers could also order other goods with longer shelf lives for same-day delivery.

For customers seeking a quicker checkout, Amazon will roll out designated drive-in locations where online grocery orders will be brought to the car, it has been reported, and the company is purportedly developing number-plate-reading technology to speed up waiting times.

The majority of innovations Amazon has introduced in the US have come across to the UK, such as Amazon Prime, Amazon Fresh, and Amazon Dash.

Amazon has refused to comment on the speculation surrounding the move, which is allegedly being managed under the code name, Project Como.

Responding to the move, Rupal Karia, managing director for retail and hospitality (UK & Ireland) at Fujitsu, said: “Amazon’s announcement that it’s opening its first grocery shop illustrates how businesses are increasingly trying to adapt to the way people shop today. Despite the growing popularity of mobile and online, there is still a large percentage of shoppers who value the in-store experience, and who enjoy face-to-face services. In order to cater to the different needs of shoppers, retailers need to recognise that a physical shopping journey may be preferable for some, whilst others may opt for m-commerce or e-commerce experiences.

“Integrating bricks and mortar with online channels, a trend that is already happening with services such as click and collect, is something we will continue to see more of. Online retailers such as Amazon and have recognised that a cohesive consumer experience encompasses more than one channel, and it will be interesting to see how successful they will be in the future.”

Hugh Fletcher, digital business consultant at analyst Salmon, added: “Salmon’s own Programmatic Commerce study goes to show that consumers want a more personal experience that embraces technological devices: 57% of consumers agreed they will be ready for automated shopping through smart devices within two years. The research also shows that shoppers themselves see the great potential of technology in retail. Retailers now face the challenge of harnessing technology and catering to the modern day consumer who enjoys the convenience of online shopping and the traditional experience of physical stores. Amazon is clearly trying to do this and provide the technology-led service that consumers deserve.”


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