Is Amazon Go a peak into a futuristic way of shopping?

The modern world has upgraded our lifestyle to the extent that even small tasks like grocery shopping are no longer the same. Bricks and mortar stores were once a predominant part of a shopper’s experience but no more. 

E-commerce has been a driving factor in changing shopping habits. The digital era and the surge in mobile users have also played a significant part in it. The figures collected by Statistics Canada say it all, as e-commerce sales reached $3.9 billion in May in the country. 

Among all this, global e-commerce giant Amazon has taken a big leap into making shopping all the more futuristic. While the idea of the Amazon Go Store is to combine physical shopping with the convenience of online retail, this step could completely change the way we do our shopping in the future. 

What is Amazon Go? 

Amazon Go is a physical store that allows you to conveniently walk in, pick up a good of your choice and walk out. Think of it as online browsing in the physical world where you can simply browse and take things. Amazon describes it as a "Just Walk Out" shopping experience. 

The Amazon Go experience 

No one likes to stand in long queues while shopping and await their turn at the checkout counter. Amazon Go ensures that you won’t ever have to waste your time in lines as you can buy items simply through the Amazon Go application. 

All you need to do is walk into the store, take the product, scan the app’s QR code which is referred to as the ‘key’ by Amazon and then walk out. The Seattle Amazon Go store is among the first of the 1,800 square feet convenience stores. Since 2018, 26 more have cropped up. 

The smart Amazon Go technology used is similar to the censors in self-driving cars. It can easily detect if the products are being taken from the shelves or returned to their place. It also tracks your virtual cart and even gives you a receipt of your purchase when you leave the store. You are later charged on your Amazon account for the goods. 

Customers are fascinated with the idea of picking things up and walking out of the store without stopping by the cashier counter. As per the Wall Street Journal, Amazon plans to extend the Amazon cashierless store experience by opening 2,000 grocery and convenience stores in the U.S.A and then branching out to other countries as well. 

A personalised touch 

While e-commerce has progressed at a rapid rate, customers still look for a personalised touch where they trust the brand and make a more aware buying decision. The Amazon automated store brings this to them easily. 

This also demonstrates that while online shopping is rising at a rapid pace and is also way more convenient, as seen during COVID-19, it does lack a personal touch. 

According to Kostya Polyakov, Partner and National Industry Leader for KPMG’s consumer and retail practice in Vancouver, shoppers in Canada will return to stores despite the recent surge in online shopping in the country. 

Though e-commerce continues to dominate the Canadian retail industry, according to Polyakov, nothing can replace the experience of physical stores, especially in cases where you need to urgently buy things. 

Canadian retail sector shifts to digital 

The Amazon Go store is a clear indicator that customers expect more from their shopping experience and retail stores have to match those expectations. The Canadian retail industry is also taking a look into better fulfilment models that includes everything from making their business digitally prominent to switching to online stores. 

In this scenario, they need to consider the just walk out technology that Amazon grab and go is using. Experts such as Gary Newbury, a retail supply chain strategist, surmises that during the pandemic many Canadians had their first brush with online shopping and this presents an opportunity for retailers to look at the digitalised way in which they can re-vamp a physical shopping experience for them. 

While the future of shopping is still impacted by many variables, it is evident that all thanks to digital evolution and Amazon go shopping, retail will be very different in times to come. 

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