Amazon Opens its First Full-Size, Cashierless Grocery Store
Amazon.com opened its first full-size, cashierless Amazon Go Grocery store in Seattle yesterday, reports CNBC. The store is about 10,400 square feet, stocking roughly 5,000 items, including fresh produce, meats and alcohol, and expands upon the technology in Amazon's Go convenience shops. Shoppers can walk in, scan a QR code from their Amazon mobile app at a turnstile, carry or add whatever they want to their baskets throughout the store, and walk out when they're finished. Zero human interaction is required, though the store will staff a couple dozen people to help stock shelves and answer shoppers’ questions. Amazon hasn't yet revealed any future plans for more Amazon Go Grocery stores.
Total Retail's Take: Amazon's introduction of a full-size, cashierless grocery store opens up a whole can of worms for the grocery retail industry. "Cashierless technology is clearly gaining tremendous momentum," comments Michael Jaszczyk, CEO of GK Software USA. "A snowball effect will take place as other grocers adopt this technology in order to deliver an excellent and frictionless customer experience, especially at a time when shoppers continue to demand a faster and more convenient checkout."
The Go stores also give Amazon another advantage when it comes to collecting customer data, as shoppers are required to use the Amazon app to complete purchases. This means that "Amazon has insight into how people buy fast-moving consumer good (FMCG) products, an advantage not all retailers have," notes Marcel Hollerbach, chief marketing officer at Productsup. "Cashierless checkout opens an entirely new view of shopping patterns."
Another interesting aspect to the Amazon Go Grocery store launch is its seeming encroachment upon Amazon's other grocery chain, Whole Foods. According to CNBC, Amazon says the Go Grocery store is meant to complement the “natural and organic” brands that people can find at Whole Foods.
“We’re not trying to be Whole Foods,” said Cameron Janes, vice president of Amazon’s physical retail division. “We’re not trying to replace it.” However, it seems it's creating a competitor for itself by bringing another large-format grocery concept to market. Considering the pilot Amazon Go Grocery store is located in Amazon's hometown, I would expect consumers to flock to the store to try it out. However, we will have to wait and see if this format could be successfully expanded nationwide.
Kristina Stidham is the digital content manager at Total Retail and sister brand Women in Retail Leadership Circle. She is passionate about digital media and handles social media, video, and podcast production for both brands, as well as contributing articles and attending events. Kristina holds a B.A. in Media Studies and Production from the Temple University Klein College of Media and Communication in Philadelphia.