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Reaction as Amazon opens UK checkout-free store

By Retail Technology | Thursday March 4 2021

Amazon has opened its first checkout-free store outside of the US with a Fresh shop in Ealing, London

Powered by the "Just Walk Out" tech used in US Go stores since 2018, the outlet uses AI-powered sensors to track  items you put in baskets and automatically applies charges to the consumer’s card at exit via the Amazon Go app.

"Our Amazon Fresh store in Ealing is the size of your typical convenience food store, which is roughly 2,500 square feet in the front of house," Amazon said in a statement. "We’re excited to bring this concept to the UK and look forward to opening additional stores in the Greater London area."

In response to the news, the retail tech industry has been quick to identify what this means fir the future of the High Street.

Daniel Kornitzer, chief business development officer at Paysafe, said: “The launch of the till-less Amazon Fresh store in the UK is yet another example of why delivering a frictionless in-store shopping experience is now more important than ever. Almost half (46%) of businesses have told us that they had lost sales in 2020 because their checkout times were too slow.”

Paul Adams, CEO of global marketplace services platform Tambo, concluded: “The new stores are also a shop window to the AWS  technology which could be used by any retailer to provide a faster checkout and a better customer experience. Amazon has created not just a grocery store, but a new retail platform which in the long term could be far more lucrative than selling some food and drink.”

Marcel Hollerbach, CMO of Productsup, added: “It’s a myth that sales are going completely online, but retailers need to be present for customers online first so that in-person experiences are smart and easy. Amazon is nailing this concept and considering they’re in talks with other retailers to offer similar technology, they won’t be the last.”

Finally, Huw Owen, head of EMEA & APJ, Couchbase believes the store opening is a sign of things to come in post-pandemic retail.

He said: “Even once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, many will still have lingering concerns about long queues, over-crowded shops and even cashiers handling items, or touching self-checkouts. By removing these parts of the experience, stores like Amazon Go will give these customers confidence that they can still visit the high street safely.


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