With 304 million active customer accounts, Amazon is the leading online marketplace. The platform’s success is purely down to their stellar range of products, unrivalled customer service and hassle-free purchasing that allows customers to receive their goods within hours. But now the company is set to enter the physical store market – something which it has spent years outshining.
The company’s new physical grocery store will enable shoppers to essentially ‘grab and go’. With no checkouts, the store will use the same type of technology found in self-driving cars in order to detect when items are taken or returned to shelves, and deduct or credit shoppers’ accounts accordingly. The idea will speed up the whole process of shopping for items physically, fitting perfectly into busy lifestyles and provide customers with their items in an instant – in a fraction of the time usually taken to do a shop.
The idea sent shockwaves throughout the retail industry, and really got retailers and business owners thinking about what the future of physical stores could be. Some stressed the need for assistants to be there to help confused shoppers – particularly during busy periods, while others have embraced technology and feel that tech and physical stores need to work together in order to provide a better experience for customers and perhaps entice them back into stores.
The continued adoption of Apple Pay and Android Pay has blurred the lines between technology and physical retail, providing instant gratification while still providing consumers with the ‘tech buzz’. But as highlighted by Amazon, there is more that can be done to bring consumers back onto the high street from behind their screens. Robots have the potential to replace general sales assistants, with real humans working seamlessly alongside them to provide a more personalised service to consumers.
Unlike Millennials, Generation Z has grown up in a time of technology, often replacing human interaction with technology on a daily basis. So as they become the decision-makers, we expect a large shift towards technology if shops are to survive. However, despite the rise of internet shopping taking the shine off heading to the shops, we feel there will always be a demand for physical interaction (even for Gen Z) when it comes to shopping for goods. As a result, we still expect to see assistants in shops for the foreseeable future. However, that’s not to say that Amazon’s idea doesn’t have legs and couldn’t inspire more ecommerce platforms to try their luck on the high street.
Tags: ecommerce, AmazonGo, Amazon shop