Amazon opens supermarket with no checkouts, no aisles and no cash in bid to revolutionise food shopping

Online retailer's foray into bricks and mortar shopping is its latest attempt to shake up the grocery business

Ben Chapman
Wednesday 29 March 2017 12:30
Amazon already offers a food delivery business and is now looking to make further inroads into the grocery market
Amazon already offers a food delivery business and is now looking to make further inroads into the grocery market

Amazon debuted a new drive-through supermarket with no checkouts, no aisles and no cash, on Tuesday.

The online retailer's foray into bricks and mortar shopping aims to revolutionise the weekly food shop and shake up the grocery business.

Customers order their food online then collect from a drive-through, with bags pre-packed and loaded into the boot by Amazon employees. Payment is made online via an app or through a web browser, USA Today reported.

The two new locations, called Amazon Fresh Pickup stores were opened in Seattle just a day after the company had to admit that its previous supermarket concept had been delayed indefinitely because of technical issues.

The company said in December that it planned to open stores laid out like traditional shops, except without the checkouts - customers simply pick what they want, and leave. They were set to use a range of technologies to watch over people and see which items they take, charging them automatically through their Amazon account.

However, Amazon revealed on Monday that the technology had difficulty tracking more than about 20 people, the Wall Street Journal reported. The shops had been due to open in “early 2017”, Amazon said in December.

The Fresh Pickup concept is a lot more low-tech and relies on Amazon’s existing prowess in logistics and online sales.

The move is the latest by the online retail behemoth to crack the huge but relatively untapped online grocery market.

In June last year, Amazon launched its food delivery service in the UK in 69 central and east London postcodes.

Customers can order from a catalogue of about 130,000 products. These include major brands names such as Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s or Danone as well as products from independent local producers from locations such as London's landmark Borough Market.

In the US, Amazon has offered fresh food delivery since 2008. It has since rolled it out from a few suburbs in Seattle to major cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and New York.

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