Louise Banham on what she learned from visiting Amazon’s revolutionary new convenience store.

A scanning system to enter the store, automated notifications that tell staff shelves need restocking and products have been put back in the wrong place, and no checkouts.

The ‘Just Walk Out’ technology behind Amazon Go, the concept convenience store from online giant Amazon, provides its customers with a fast and seamless shopping experience that specifically targets time-pressured consumers.

The store opened to the public on 22 January after more than a year of testing with Amazon employees, and I visited the 1,800sq ft store last month on a retail study tour to find out how technology plays a role in the convenience store of the future.

It is fitted with hundreds of cameras and sensors that track customers’ every move, allowing them to pick up and put back products and only be charged for the items they have taken when they leave the store.

Harris Aslam, owner of Eros Retail in Fife, and who was on the same trip to visit the store, says: “It is the finest example of technology disrupting convenience. With the rate of change in convenience, the next big disruption will inevitably be from technology.

“We need to look at how we can use technology to create something that is really unique and make people travel to get to that store. We need to look at what can we do to stay ahead of the competition and how can we use this threat and turn it into an opportunity.”

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Louise is the editor in chief at Newtrade, overseeing Better Wholesaling and its sister titles for the independent convenience channel RN and Retail Express. She can be found on Twitter @LouiseBanham.


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