Amazon recently launched Amazon Go, a Seattle convenience store with cashier-less checkout. This 1,800 square-foot retail space is their latest innovation, poised to transform the way American consumers think about shopping. There are employees that staff the store to help shoppers find what they need when necessary, to stock shelves, make recommendations and verify age of alcohol purchases, but their interactions with customers are limited to the sales floor. The entire experience is designed to limit interaction and speed up the shopping process.
Just Walk Out Shopping
Amazon named their proprietary technology “Just Walk Out Shopping.” And the concept is simple. Shoppers must have the Amazon app installed on their phones and they must have a credit or debit card stored to the account. The app is launched when shoppers walk through the door.
Once inside, cameras track shoppers’ every move through the Amazon Go store. Customers pick up what they want, and when they exit the store, all the items on their person are totaled and charged to their account. An e-receipt is immediately generated after virtual checkout. There are plenty of controls set up throughout the store for accuracy and loss prevention, including scales on shelves and fail-safes if a camera happens to shut down or become damaged.
The Future of Retail Has Arrived
Every year, industry watchers talk about the impending “future of retail,” and it seems that future is now here. Customers want convenience, and they want simplicity. Cashier-less stores theoretically combine everything modern shoppers are looking for: The speed and convenience of online shopping married with the ability to see and choose items in a retail store without waiting in line or going through the hassle of self-checkout.
Some 94% of consumers now expect their online and offline shopping experience to be interconnected and seamless. Amazon Go has managed to deliver everything customers are looking for when they choose to shop online with Amazon, in a brick-and-mortar store.
Convenience Is Just The Beginning
Amazon isn’t just attempting to deliver convenience and a seamless experience. They are very clearly laying the foundation for connecting with the new consumer, specifically Millennials who embrace innovation and are not as concerned about the “Big Brother” tilt of our hyper-connected world.
Amazon is treating the Go store as a true test-and-learn experience, so they can continue to refine their service model based on real shopper feedback. This approach will allow them to remain nimble and flexible, and to create in real-time an experience that consumers truly want from a retail store, rather than scrambling to catch up. Being the first to deliver will continue to solidify customer loyalty among Amazon shoppers.
Other retailers aren’t likely to adopt similar technology too quickly, but they are keeping their eyes on what’s happening with the flagship store. As consumers who frequent Amazon Go begin to make their preferences known, the balance between a personal but convenient experience will become clear, and from there, we will see exactly what customers want from the modern in-store shopping experience.