Amazon is reportedly bringing its cashier-less convenience store, Amazon Go, to the UK, and has secured central London retail space for its convenience store concept, according to the Glazer (via Reuters).
The move would be the company’s first expansion of their GO concept outside of the US, where there are currently 10 stores. In the UK, Amazon offers grocery delivery via its Amazon Fresh, Amazon Pantry, and Amazon Prime Now services, but the company only commands less than 1% of the grocery market.
It currently remains unclear how many sites have been secured and the exact locations of those new stores haven’t been revealed, either.
Cashier-less store in London
In December, the Telegraph reported that Amazon could open up its first cashier-less grocery store in London’s Oxford Circus, with Amazon looking to open up a number of retail sites between 3,000 and 5,000- square feet in size.
At Amazon Go stores, customers do not have to wait in checkout lines, as there are no cashiers. Instead of using cashiers, Amazon Go stores rely on weight sensors, video cameras, and other computer systems to track what customers pick up and purchase from the store.
Senior analyst at Bernstein, a food retail research group, Bruno Monteyne, told Reuters that Amazon Go would fit into the UK’s convenience food retail market, as they would cater to people who work locally and are looking for “on the go food,” including meal kits and standard groceries.
However, there is plenty of competition in the UK grocery market, with companies like Pret-A-Manger, Eat, Marks & Spencer, along with bigger supermarket chains like Tesco and Sainsbury’s.
“This particular convenience segment seems an even bigger challenge than the segments Amazon has targeted for the last 10 years with limited success,” said Monteyne.
Checkout-free stores in US airports
Amazon reportedly plans to bring its checkout-free stores to several US airports in a bid to bolster its presence in the retail market.
Reuters reported that a technology adviser who supports Los Angeles International Airport sent an email to a concessions official. The email read: “the lead for Amazon Go requested a meeting. Interested?”
“Yes. Thanks!” the concessions official replied.
According to the report, an account manager at Amazon’s cloud unit asked San Jose International Airport for a meeting, noting that Amazon Go, among other topics, would be discussed.
After the San Jose meeting, an airport manager wrote: “I am looking forward to moving forward with the Amazon Go technology at the airport.”