Amazon Go: The Future of Retail Shopping Has Arrived
December 5, 2016 | Contributed by: Greg Sterling
It’s a dramatic headline but one that may prove to be true in retrospect. Amazon is introducing a new (grocery) store concept: Amazon Go.
As the video below indicates, shoppers scan their phones as they enter the store. They make their selections and leave without checking out or formally paying (Amazon account credit cards are charged). Users need a smartphone and the Amazon Go app (and an Amazon account).
Everything happens in the background — like Uber. While this is showcased in a grocery context, it could be adapted to any retail environment, at least in theory.
One of the still-unfulfilled promises of mobile apps in retail is in-app payments and line-skipping. Amazon Go makes good on that promise; there are no cashiers apparently. In the event it isn’t already obvious, this has dramatic implications for retail broadly. Competitors may be forced to follow Amazon’s lead or suffer, especially if their audience is comprised of Millennials or members of “Generation Z.”
The challenge is that there’s a lot of technology going on in the background. Other grocery stores or retailers will not be able to quickly adapt and duplicate the user experience Amazon is showing here. This announcement should put them on notice, however, to accelerate UX innovation and technology usage in stores.
It also goes without saying the data that Amazon will collect from its users will be immensely valuable.