What was once thought to be the next-generation bookstore has now evolved into a consumer monopoly. Today, Amazon is disrupting a multitude of industries, and the launch of its “Just Walk Out Shopping” experience is a testament to how it is disrupting the retail sector.
Using similar technology as self-driving cars, the brand began testing its “Just Walk Out Shopping” experience on its employees at its store in Seattle, Washington. With the help of the Amazon Go application, consumers can walk into the grocery store, connect to the store’s system via the smartphone application and charge their purchases through their Amazon account.
Imagine this: consumers are free to walk around and shop for ready-to-eat breakfast, lunch and dinner options. When an item is taken off the shelf, it is added to the shopper’s Amazon cart. If they then decide they would no longer like to purchase an item, it can be easily removed. When the shopping is complete, shoppers can simply walk out of the store and their Amazon account is charged. The shopping process is expected to be completely seamless with no lines or cashiers.
Although this concept sounds simple, it has been a major challenge for Amazon to perfect in preparation for public adoption. According to Forbes, the average grocery store carries tens of thousands of SKUs (stock-keeping units) that get tracked when their bar codes are scanned at checkout. Keeping track of more than 20 units at a time has been all that Amazon’s data systems can currently process.
Despite some setbacks, Amazon has still managed to begin revolutionizing the retail sector. Apart from Amazon Go, the brand has also introduced Amazon Fresh as a vehicle in the grocery realm. Amazon Fresh packages fresh foods and home necessities to be delivered directly to the shopper’s doorstep. Users can reserve a delivery time, as soon as same-day, or shortly thereafter. Amazon has even created an exclusive tote bag that manages to keep the produce fresh and cold upon delivery.
Don’t fear this megasystem, rather collaborate. There’s an opportunity for brands, especially companies with a large portfolio, to experiment and pilot new approaches with Amazon. Even test markets that fail are valuable learning about what consumers will pay for and how they want it delivered.