Technology can affect just about every aspect of our daily lives. Even something as simple as going to the shops to buy food and household essentials can be enhanced by tech—case in point: Amazon’s new grocery stores that don’t have tills. A number of these AmazonFresh stores have opened in the US, and the first outside of the country recently started welcoming shoppers in London.
Thanks to the internet, we’re able to do lots of things much more conveniently. We can do our shopping, communicate with others, play casino games , bet on sports on websites like ggbet, and learn about the world all from the comfort of our own homes. While Amazon and other companies have greatly increased what we can do without leaving the house, with the till-less stores, the company is looking at how it can use its tech to improve things we do out of the house.
How the AmazonFresh Stores Work
The way AmazonFresh stores work is straightforward. You need to have an Amazon Shopping app and a smartphone in order to visit the store and purchase products. When you enter, scan a QR code on your app and place bags in your Amazon Dash Cart. Then, you’ll do your shopping. Once you’re done, simply leave through the Dash Cart Lane (the store’s exit) with your shopping, and that’s it.
There’s no need to check your shopping or interact with a cashier or self-service machine. When you leave, the total cost of your purchases is added up and deducted from your Amazon Shopping account. The store offers everything a typical grocery store would sell, and as well as Amazon’s own-brand products, you can purchase things from other brands, as well as freshly made food prepared in-house.
It should be pointed out that AmazonFresh stores aren’t entirely staff-free. Though there aren’t any tills for staff to man, there are still staff members on-site to help with queries, prepare food and restock the shelves. Customers can walk in, do their shopping and walk out without having to interact with anyone else.
The stores come with a number of customer-friendly features to make it quicker and easier for people to do their grocery shopping.
- Order Ahead. This is a feature that lets you order foods from the meat, seafood and deli counters, as well as pizzas, in advance. You can do this through the app when you’re in the store or even when you’re on your way. You’ll be notified through the app when your order’s ready to collect.
- Alexa. Throughout each AmazonFresh store are some Alexa kiosks that let you use Amazon’s voice-controlled virtual assistant. She can help you locate items in the store and offer suggestions and advice.
- Cashback. Shop in an AmazonFresh store, and if you use an Amazon Prime Store Card or Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card, you’ll earn 5% of your billed total back.
- Deliveries. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can do your grocery shopping online and get free pick-ups from the AmazonFresh store, along with free same-day deliveries.
- Returns. Making returns is easy: simply scan a code, and there’s no need to relabel or even repackage the returned item.
These features are implemented so that shoppers can enjoy a smooth and frictionless shopping experience. The idea is that you can walk in, pick up your items and walk out with no fuss or hassle.
Is This the Future of Grocery Shopping?
The UK’s first AmazonFresh store opened in Ealing in west London. The technology behind this store, and the others in the US, is called Just Walk Out. Each store uses hundreds of sensors and cameras to track shoppers and the items they end up leaving the store with. One thing the technology doesn’t do is it lets you know how much you’re spending as you add items to your cart.
There have been concerns about the use of surveillance technology, though Amazon has stressed that facial technology isn’t used. The company’s also said that information gathered about each shopper and their in-store activity will only be linked with their main Amazon account for thirty days.
Amazon has plans to open up more AmazonFresh stores in London, as well as in other UK cities. The company is also reportedly offering to sell the Just Walk Out technology to established supermarkets and other grocery sellers; this could be a viable business model if taking on the big brands becomes too much of a challenge.
It seems that Amazon is planning a gradual rollout of these stores. It remains to be seen how successful they’ll actually be, though people do appreciate the way they work. Even though the concept behind the stores has won people over, there are still concerns over privacy.
Some have criticised the opening of the new AmazonFresh store. People think it’s too invasive to do something like shopping and having technology track your every move. Others have voiced concerns about Amazon and how the technology company, the largest internet-based company in the world in terms of revenue, is entering yet another area and could potentially take business away from traditional food stores. Over the years, the company has vastly expanded and diversified its product line, with some of its main products and services listed below.
It will be interesting to see how the rollout of more AmazonFresh stores in the UK goes. These stores have a huge brand of Amazon behind them and the novelty of their technology, so wherever they’re launched, they’ll no doubt attract a lot of attention and customers. What remains to be seen is if these stores will go on to become long-term successes or whether they’ll satisfy shoppers and more stores with similar technology will be opened.