Amazon Fresh opened its first UK Store late last month in London, potentially marking the start of a significant shift in the UK retail experience as we know it!
If you’re not familiar with the concept, Amazon Fresh offers customers a ‘just walk out’ approach to shopping, you simply pick up the items that you want in-store and walk out, your Amazon account is then billed. It works by customers scanning a barcode on their Amazon app as they enter the store, a series of cameras and other sensors backed by AI monitor the users movements around the store, sensors on the shelves are also used to determine whether a product has been selected. Anything a customer takes off the shelf is automatically added to their virtual cart. Anything they put back on the shelf is removed from their virtual cart and it works surprisingly efficiently.
Shortly after the first store opened in Ealing, West London, their second then opened at Wembley Park and although the stores aren’t huge, they’re generally bigger than most convenience stores and offer quite an extensive range of products, about 10,000 grocery products in fact, including brands such as Heinz and Kelloggs, and items from Morrisons, Booths and Mindful Chef. Amazon also stocks its first own-brand grocery range – By Amazon – which includes frequently bought items such as milk and bread as well as pizzas, dips and cakes. They even have a Tesco / Boots esq meal deal offer.
You wouldn’t choose to do a weekly shop there, but at a push you absolutely could, and the whole process is very streamlined. You’re given the option of either a free paper bag to pack your shopping into or a £1 reusable one, but unfortunately no trolley, possibly to keep the process as quick and as simple as possible.
It’s a really interesting concept that is clearly making waves in the sector, and as Amazon, with the might of its technological background, and also AWS (Amazon Web Services, which if you didn’t already know is the most popular cloud web service provider in the world) continues to open stores across the US, Europe and the UK, it begs the question, will it force other retailers to respond with their own take on ad advanced store? Similar to how Tesla’s electric revolution in cars propelled the industry forward and made other manufacturers to follow suit.
It’s going to be exciting to see how other retailers respond and to also watch how the Amazon Fresh Store continue to develop and expand.