Friday, 16 Apr 2021

Inside Amazon’s first checkout-free grocery store as it opens in UK today

Pictures show the inside of Amazon's first grocery store in the UK which was set to open on Thursday.

Amazon Fresh in Ealing, west London, could be the first of up to 30 stores in the UK if it proves profitable.

Images taken from the online retailer's first grocery chain shop in Europe – show there are no actual checkouts.

Instead, Amazon uses technology instead to track what you're purchasing, the Mirror reports.

The Just Walk Out technology means that customers are able to avoid queues for a speedy shopping experience.

When people enter the store, they must scan the Amazon app on the gated turnstile.

They are then monitored by cameras from above, while weight sensors in the shelves help the retailer determine exactly what people take.

Items that customers then pick up are added to a virtual shopping cart, and anything they put back is automatically deleted from it.

Shoppers can then automatically pay for their purchases when they walk out of the shop, as Amazon uses the credit card associated with their Amazon account.

Despite no checkouts, there are some staff on the shop floor.

These employees will be there to assist customers and replenish stock.

The stores will be similar to the 20 Amazon Go stores the company runs in the US but will operate under the Fresh brand it uses for its UK online grocery operations.

Amazon said the store – which will be at the front of the Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre – will be the first of a number of planned openings in London.

Matt Birch, the former Sainsbury's executive who now leads Amazon Fresh Stores UK, said the company has strived to make grocery shopping "as convenient as possible." He said: "The focus was just creating a really easy shopping experience for customers.

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"We recognise that UK customers want to shop in a convenient way so we really think they will appreciate being able to walk in and walk out with the shopping they need." The company said it has also launched a By Amazon range of hundreds of own-brand products for the stores.

The concept for the contactless stores was first launched in the US in 2018, and it was initially reported last year that the shopping giant was eyeing as many as 30 locations in the UK for bricks and mortar stores.

The cashless payment store comes after supermarkets such as Asda, Sainsbury's, Tesco and M&S introduced self-checkouts which let you scan items as you shop and then pay at a self-checkout.

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Tesco first tested a completely cashless store in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, back in 2018 and the supermarket opened another self-service checkout-only branch in London last year.

Sainsbury's also launched a till-free store in 2019, with customers paying using their smartphones.

Amazon has already opened several stores in the US to great success.

As well as being a landmark move for the company, it is also big news for the declining UK high street.

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