Have a look at this video. Pretty cool, right?
All the technology required to do this has been around for a while. But Amazon is the first to find a way to package it into a concept like this.
But we do have a couple of questions…
This kind of pick-up-and-go store concept means reduced wait times and more control over the pace of your shop – but it also means reduced staff. And that means reduced overhead, in classic Amazon style. But will this reduction be passed on to the customer in the form of lower prices, or are they ‘paying’ for the technology as well as their morning bagel?
And what does this mean for customer service? Does an interactionless shop make for a colder retail experience? Amazon has clearly been thinking about this too. You’ll note that the technology is completely integrated – invisible even. Instead of an Applesque sleek, white, clean design, the store itself clearly apes more traditional formats. Most obviously Whole Foods – complete with the fresh prep counter.
While it is a neat idea, what might be going on here is an attempt by Amazon to break into the one market it hasn’t managed to corner. Your everyday groceries.
We’ll trust a computer with books, or anything else we know we can get the same at another retailer. But the freshness of one’s melons is another matter. Maybe this marriage of digital and smartphone technology with a very traditional looking brick and mortar store is the logical creative solution?
Although the jury’s out till the store’s launched, we’re optimistic. It’s nice to see a genuine marriage between new technology and creative thinking.
Written by Nick Thompson