A ‘till-less’ Amazon grocery outlet, the first of its kind outside of the USA, has been opened in Ealing in London.
Consumers visiting the Amazon Fresh store must first scan a smartphone app on entry and on exiting the shop are billed automatically.
It is being described by some retail analysts as ‘game-changing’ and Natalie Berg, an analyst with NBK Retail told the BBC: “Having a physical presence will enable Amazon to address some of its weaknesses, like the mounting cost of deliveries and returns.”
When asked if it were to be a potential threat to supermarket retailers she was sceptical, saying: “Supermarkets have had a few years now to prepare and test their own checkout-free shopping concepts.”
Matt Birch, director of Amazon Fresh Stores and an ex-Sainsbury’s executive, said: “When you’re finished, you’re free to walk out.”
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 a consumer has finished shopping, they can just leave the store. An email receipt and charge to their Amazon account then follow.