Amazon Builds Futuristic Grocery Store
The Internet is abuzz with exciting news from Amazon. While the company made its name as an online retailer, Amazon has since branched out to delivery and, now, physical locations. Last month Amazon announced that it will be opening its first Amazon Fresh grocery store in the Woodland Hills community neighborhood of Los Angeles, and it’s like no grocery store you’ve ever seen before.
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the upcoming Amazon Fresh store is the smart smarts, which calculate the cost of the customer’s order as they place items into bags in the cart. When shoppers are ready to check out, the total is automatically charged to their Amazon Prime account. These stores are a bit like membership stores such as Costco where only members can shop, and this will appeal to the millions of existing Amazon customers and perhaps sway those who have not yet purchased from Amazon.
This announcement comes after several months of the COVID-19 pandemic, during which grocery pickup and delivery services have surged in popularity. Amazon’s smart carts will allow for contactless shopping that is more safe and convenient and appeals to consumers who prefer independent shopping, including those who are willing to spend a little more money for the convenience of smart shopping. Those costs may be offset when consumers use their Amazon credit cards; the company is offering 5 percent cash back when consumers shopper at the store.
People are already speculating about where Amazon might open its second Fresh Market if its first store is a success. The company already knows where its customers live and what their spending habits are, it will be easy to pick neighborhoods where future Amazon Fresh supermarkets are likely to succeed.
Amazon isn’t the only retailer that was impacted by the pandemic. Traditional stores have had to adapt as well. Customers are increasingly using delivery directly from stores and services such as InstaCart. Even food delivery companies such as DoorDash have added grocery delivery in some locations. Luis Alvarez, the CEO of Alvarez Technology Group, explains how some experts predict that by 2025, half of all grocery shopping will be done by delivery.
Curbside pickup has also increased across grocery stores and restaurants, and Amazon Fresh Market will allow shoppers to order online and pick up their goods, either from the service desk or from a designated parking spot. On top of that, shoppers will be able to pick up Amazon packages from the store, which will offer same-day delivery.
However, this recent news from Amazon wasn’t inspired entirely by COVID-19. The retailer has spent the last several years operating a string of convenience stores under the moniker Amazon Go. Earlier this year, Amazon announced its first grocery store in Seattle. The store similarly uses AI rather than employees to calculate purchases before charging the customer’s account.
Of course, Amazon is among the many retailers that have had to quickly adapt in the face of a worldwide pandemic, so this news is quite timely.