I was already able to find the new Amazon new supermarket in Ealing, West London, from a block. The white and green store logo is turning upside down on a busy road, especially in the UK where locking measures are being removed.
“You can pay with your phone, which’s crazy,” one woman said to her husband as the cashier pointed out the low discharge.
In early March, Amazon opened its first “Just Walk” grocery store in Europe, where customers can leave without stopping to put their items in a bag and pay at a register.
At the entrance, employees in glowing green Amazon new T-shirts explained the process. I had to open the Amazon app on my smartphone and scan the customized QR code. A green light appeared; Kate let me inside.
The moment I entered the store, the application timed my arrival.
Using the app to get to Amazon’s new store in Ealing
Technology that detects every movement
At first glance this store looked like any other small supermarket in London. But looking at the ceiling the difference quickly became apparent: cameras and motion sensors point in every direction and monitor every inch of the store.
Every item I put in my glowing green Amazon new bag will automatically be added to a virtual cart. Like the sci-fi movie of the 1990s, I couldn’t help but look at the cameras as I half picked up items from the shelf, half expecting them to move with my every move. But they remained the same.
The store uses a combination of computer vision, depth sensors and machine learning to accurately record which item shoppers are removing the drawer. The technology was pioneered by Amazon Go stores in the United States, which first opened in 2018.
The in-store Amazon Center allows customers to pick up or refund any items purchased online
The company said the information collected in the store will only be linked to the customer’s Amazon account for up to 30 days.
But civil liberty groups in the UK are critical of the company’s large personal data tracks through this technology. “We need to know more about what that really means in practice and what the possibilities are for reconnecting data,” Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group, later told me.
While browsing the supermarket, Amazon’s signature smiley logo looked at me from every shelf and smiled. In addition to opening its Ealing flagship store, Amazon also launched its own grocery brand. Hundreds of its own branded products line the shelves: mashed potatoes from Amazon, ham cured by Amazon, yellow roses by Amazon.
Natalie Berg, a retailer and NPK retailer, later told me that a piece of the puzzle for Amazon’s market dominance strategy was a grocery store. “Grocery is the most important type because customers buy groceries on a regular basis. Entering the business is Amazon’s way of doing everything you have to shop with them,” he said.
Last manual ritual
The supermarket operates completely without carts and shopping baskets, thus allowing shoppers to move quickly through the aisles. When I got to the wine corner, I was confused by two employees – real people – Standing there, he looks a lot like a pair of bouncers. After I took a bottle of wine, one of them checked my ID. It was surprisingly comforting that age confirmation is still carried out manually.
As I walked towards the exit, I half-expected that an alarm would sound when I left the hand. Instead, the gate was open to allow me to go out onto the busy shopping street.
Uses computer vision, in-depth sensors and machine learning to monitor shoppers
The cashier-less model is not a novelty for British shoppers. Other UK retailers such as Tesco and Marks & Spencer also adopted their own versions. But Amazon’s technology alone does not require customers to scan their shopping items in one app. “Amazon’s concept will change the game because it’s unrestricted,” Berg said.
It almost feels like stealing
Tina Sparks, who was shopping at the store, shared my feeling about the cashier leaving less: “It felt so weird, I felt so guilty as if I was stealing something.”
The 54-year-old Londoner made the trip to the store after hearing about the news. “I wanted to try it, and then I went and tell my friends what it was,” he said.
None of the other customers I spoke to seemed intimidated by the cameras in the store. “I know there are cameras in London everywhere you go, so this is not something I should pay attention to anymore,” shopkeeper Elizabeth Bilour told me.
Belur was pleasantly surprised by his first visit: “It’s fast and convenient. You can put it in the bag. You don’t have to wait in line. You don’t need to be angry or upset.”
On the way out of Amazon’s new store in London
The beginning of something big?
Retailer Richard Hyman thinks that in order to get British retailers, the technology company must constantly improve the various products offered in its stores. “Amazon’s real strength lies in transaction, which is basically a transactional business that most traditional retailers do not have. It’s less in retail,” he told me.
As the business model develops, Hyman expects it to be a period of time before Amazon opens its doors to new stores in other European countries.
Returning home from my Amazon new shopping trip, I prepared a salad with the ingredients I just bought. When I took my first bite, I realized I had no idea how much I was spending on groceries.
A quick look at the Amazon app revealed everything. After 14:55 minutes at the store, the final bill arrived at 15.56 (18.25; $ 21.42). This experience felt more like shopping online than a trip to the supermarket, I was ready to eat.