Amazon Go offers checkout free shopping in the UK

Amazon Go

Amazon is to open its first High Street store in the UK – selling groceries and technology without the need for tills. Called Amazon Go, the new store will open this week in Ealing, West London, reports The Mirror.

There will be no checkouts, in line with how the shops operate in the US, with shopping baskets scanned and customers charged when they leave the store via the Amazon Go app.

In 2018 Amazon said it was looking to open 30 Amazon Go stores across the UK. The shops use “Just Walk Out” technology which means customers can avoid queueing.

So exactly how does it work? The first step is to download the Amazon Go App, which is now available on Apple and Android for UK users. Once at the store, shoppers hold their phone screen to a scanner at the gate to open it. Anything they take from the shelf is then automatically added to the virtual cart.

When they have finished shopping, they are good to go – there are no queues, machines or checkouts. Providing shoppers keep their distance from each other, there is no need for any physical contact in the store.

Shoppers are only billed for their shopping once they leave the store using the card associated with their Amazon account. There are no checkout workers but employees will be available to help customers and replenish stock.

In the US the online giant has around 25 Amazon Go stores in Seattle, Chicago, New York City and San Francisco.

More locations are said to be on the cards, with Amazon reportedly targeting transport hubs, so it can attract busy commuters who need to pick up items on the go.

Perfect timing?

According to home delivery expert ParcelHero, the launch of the first Amazon Go store in the UK is perfectly timed to help customers during the current pandemic, as the shop has no cashiers to pay or screens to touch. Shoppers simply walk in, take the items they need and walk out.

ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks MILT, says the opening of the Amazon Go store in Ealing, West London, could be as early as this week.

“Amazon decision to introduce till-free stores wasn’t due to the pandemic. In fact, it has been trialling the technology since 2016 and opened its first Go store to the public in the US in 2018. However, the impact of Covid created the impetus for the company to open its first contactless store outside the US.

“Shopping at Amazon Go stores looks set to become one of the safest shopping options outside of having groceries delivered directly to your home.”

Amazon has a long-standing relationship with UK supermarket chain Morrisons, which supplies the Amazon Fresh grocery delivery service. It is highly likely that Morrisons will be key to the stocking and logistics behind the new Go store.

Amazon also owns the grocery chain Whole Foods. Its Richmond branch is just five miles from Ealing, so there are likely to be ongoing potential synergies.

Chris Price