Amazon Go is likely sending shock waves through incumbent retailer boardrooms. It’s worth remembering that while the technology and patents that Amazon have employed are critical, they also wield the advantage of not having to use them within a ‘legacy infrastructure’ of old shelves, traditional grocery product lines, employees and customers. For now, their customers will be Amazon employees who you’d hope will behave themselves and play by the new rules of Go-style retail (here’s what happens if civilians try and visit today).
While Amazon Go is billed as a ‘grocery store’, from this side of the pond, it looks a lot closer to Pret a Manger than Walmart. It’s clear they’ve streamlined product lines around convenience (not just technology), with some kitchen work going on to put fresh sandwiches on the shelves. Similarly, most products appear to be fully packaged, ‘for one’ meals or meal kits. For those in metropolitan centres for whom the likes of Deliveroo, Hello Fresh and Instacart are becoming a feature of everyday life, this might well be the way they want to shop.