Amazon Go checkout-free stores coming to the UK

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Amazon is reported to be looking for locations across the UK to roll out Amazon Go, checkout less grocery stores.

According to The Sunday Times, the retailer is looking for “a significant number” of sites medium sized sites up to 5000 square feet all over the UK.

Amazon Go stores are designed to let Amazon app users ‘check in’ as they enter the store using their mobile running the app, pick up what they want from the shelves and simply leave – their Amazon account being charged thereafter for what they took.

The stores have been trialled in the US in a number of locations and, aside for there being issues when there are more than 20 people in the store, all has gone well. It was only a matter of time before they were launched here in the UK where mobile commerce is so prevalent.

The stores are likely to be small grocery store convenience outlets – think quinoa and beard oil on the run at lunchtime – and are unlikely to trouble the bigger supermarkets. However, the simple fact that a store with such as disruptive retail culture will be on the high street should be troubling enough to retailers and brands as it will give consumers something to compare and contrast ‘old skool’ retail with.

It also spells the first chime of the death knell of cash and even cards, believe some. Simply not having to pay to leave is ground-breaking and is a game changed for retail. While Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Co-op and Budgens are all trialling scan and go technologies to let app users scan their shopping as they load it into their trolley then pay by scanning their app or through the app, Amazon Go removes the scanning and paying bit completely. Eventually, this will be how all shopping happens.

“There are more options than ever when making a purchase – for example, mobile payments and applying for credit at the till or via a retailer’s website – and this points towards a society wherein using plastic cards actually becomes increasingly marginalised. As cash fades into the background, the brands that thrive will be those that can offer customers flexibility in how, when and where they pay for their goods.”

– Rob Cottingham, credit director at Duologi

One Response

  1. As for taxing online retailers, I have a massive problem with this. I sell online, but I pay VAT, corporation tax, and business rates on the facility I operate from. I chose not to operate a retail shop because the overheads were too high. My point being, it was MY CHOICE, and in every other respect, I pay exactly the same dues as Tesco’s does.

    Equally, it was Tesco’s choice to open superstores, and then express stores and so on, and stock lines way outside of food and drink. I see no rationale as to why online retailers should now be penalised, given the business model that Tesco use was THEIR CHOICE, and apparently, now they are not the king of the castle any more, we are all supposed to chip in and help them.

    Dave Lewis, suck it up princess, you already sell online, if your business model isn’t what people want any more, that is your problem. Don’t come crawling around pleading poverty, these things happen, the world moves on. You can either go along with it, or gradually drift into oblivion. Your move.

    The issue at hand here has nothing to do with online retailers, but has everything to do with how large companies move their profits around the world to minimise their overall tax burden. If Amazon (as the often quoted example) are not paying what is viewed as fair tax on their profits in the UK, it will be because they are busy shovelling costs and profits about to avoid it. There may not be anything even close to dodgy about what they are doing though. Every multinational is at it to some degree. Those are the rules which need looking at.


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