Boasting, “You can’t find a checkout because it’s nothing,” Amazon boasts a Fresh store powered by Just Walk Out (JWO) technology.
But shoppers won’t be able to find the store in Dalston, North London any time soon after Amazon announced it would be closing the store within two years of opening.
It’s clear that we can expect more fluid and experimental things on the boulevard as part of the evolution of shopping, and that’s a welcome thing. We need the ability and the opportunity to try and explore solutions together with the masses, without taking an “old-fashioned” view.
Amazon appeared to be pushing quite a strategy to find success in the convenience sector. About 20 stores, mainly based in London, are experiencing rapid growth in quick succession.
From Ealing to White City and other hotspots, Amazon has presented alternatives to convenience stores. However, as shoppers keep the cost of living crisis in mind, there is some question as to how much of a focus will inflationary pressures have over ease of use and technical savvy.
The store concept of the JWO contactless store in London is the same as in the United States. Consumers can purchase groceries and leave the store without having to stop and go through the traditional “checkout” process.
A store is created that uses a variety of cameras and sensors to monitor and track all purchases and bill consumers through the Amazon app required to access the store.
Just because one location shuts down doesn’t mean the Amazon JWO model will disappear from the UK high street anytime soon. It is clear that global retailers will continue to explore UK grocery opportunities, including developments with online shopping partners, subscriptions and new concepts yet to be seen.
An Amazon spokesperson told Retail Charged:
“We remain committed to our brick-and-mortar Amazon Fresh UK stores and, in fact, are delighted to announce that we will soon be opening two new Amazon Fresh stores in the Greater London area.”
While retail has been hit hard by consumer shifts and price pressures due to the pandemic, the high street evolution is starting to accelerate again.
The recent National Retail Federation Show in New York kicked off the year with a stark reminder that brands need to evolve and adapt in an ever-changing world.
Some of the most impressive developments showcased at the show enabled flexibility for retailers and highlighted how retailers need support with their fluid and evolving ideas for the store floor. Rather than committing to technology concepts that expire as soon as rollouts occur, smarter options invest in solutions that cater to evolving consumers who demand more.
Whatever the outcome, Amazon Go shouldn’t be viewed as a dead end or a wrong route. Now is the time to celebrate retailers who listen to their consumers and dare to be different.