Amazon have opened the UK's first till-free supermarket in Ealing, West London.
Amazon have opened its first contactless supermarket in the UK, named 'Amazon fresh.' The till-free food store is based in Ealing in West London and offers a glimpse into what the future could hold for supermarket chains.
Customers who visit the store scan a QR code on arrival then are simply able to 'just walk out' once they've finished shopping, with their final bill being charged to their Amazon account. Visitors don't even need to go to the trouble of scanning their items as they shop thanks to sensors on the shelves detecting when an item has been removed, backed up by the added security of cameras and other forms of technology and artificial intelligence which are responsible for tracking each customers movement whilst walking around the store.
The 'Amazon Fresh' shop located in West London currently stocks hundreds of Amazons own-brand products although it also boasts a range of named brand items from providers such as Heinz and Kelloggs.
So far the store has received mixed reviews from customers, some more than satisfied with how convenient their shopping experience was, especially the lack of queues. Whilst others expressed privacy concerns, revealing that they found the experience unsettling and felt as though they were under strict surveillance throughout their visit.
Regardless, it seems Amazon have full confidence in the business model, unveiling their plans to open more stores in the Greater London area. Rumours have also been spiralling that they may try to expand their supermarket brand further by buying out one of their larger competitors. Moreover, Amazon are considering offering their 'just walk out' technology for other supermarket chains to buy and use in their stores.
Where the opening of the 'Amazon Fresh' store in Ealing was the first of its kind in the UK, they are many in the US. Back in 2017 they acquired the Whole Foods market chain and now there is 10 existing Amazon Fresh supermarkets in California and Illinois and a number of Amazon Go stores (cashier-less convenience shops) across the country.
So far the launch of the 'Amazon Fresh' supermarket here in the UK hasn't caused a huge disruption or cause for concern amongst the more established supermarket chains across the country as yet. Although, with plans for expansion it's no doubt Amazon has the potential to be a big competitor in years to come.
What do you think, like the idea of till-free supermarket? Or perhaps you would prefer to stick to the current model?
We love to hear your thoughts so don't hesitate to get in contact and share them with us.