Amazon have recently opened their very first UK-based Amazon Fresh store in Ealing, letting customers shop hundreds of food products without the need to pay at a physical checkout.
More stores are expected to start popping up around the country in the near future with Amazon looking to initially open additional stores in the Greater London area, all at a time where not needing to interact with another human when shopping is quite appealing.
The store is roughly 2,500 square feet, the same size as you would expect a convenience store to be and customers will need an amazon account which can then be used to receive their ‘fresh code’ required to open the gate.
Walk out technology
Although this is the first Amazon fresh store in the UK this isn’t the first store with what Amazon call ‘Just Walk Out Technology’. Amazon also have the same set up in their London Amazon Go store. The checkout-free shopping experience is made possible by the same types of technologies used in self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning. Just Walk Out Technology automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual basket. When you’re done shopping, you can just leave the store. Later, Amazon will email you a receipt and charge your Amazon account.
The technology does seem interesting and could provide a safe high street payment solution. But should this sort of technology be something developed to cater outside of Amazon if the opportunity arose? How many jobs would be lost through cashier-less technology and would it remain convenient or even logical for other businesses?