Amazon Opens Its First Cashierless Grocery Store

Mandatory Credit: Photo by ETIENNE LAURENT/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (10758920g)A family arrives at the Amazon Fresh supermarket in Woodland Hills, California, USA, 28 August 2020.

Amazon opened its first Amazon Fresh cashierless grocery store in the U.K. this week. The store uses the same technologies used in self-driving cars, the company said.

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The store, located in Ealing, London, employs “Just Walk Out” technology, which “automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual basket. When you’re done shopping, you can just leave the store. Later, we’ll email you a receipt and charge your Amazon account. No queues, no checkout. (No, seriously.),” Amazon said on the grocery’s website.

Amazon said it is “excited to bring this concept to the U.K. and look[s] forward to opening additional stores in the Greater London area.”

According to the BBC, campaigners have raised privacy concerns, although some retail experts called the opening a “watershed moment”.

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“Having a physical presence will enable Amazon to address some of its weaknesses, like the mounting cost of deliveries and returns,” Natalie Berg, an analyst with NBK Retail told the BBC.

However, some civil liberties groups have raised concerns, the BBC adds.

“[It] offers a dystopian, total-surveillance shopping experience,” Silkie Carlo, from Big Brother Watch told the BBC. “Amazon’s intense tracking of shoppers will create larger personal data footprints than any other retailer. Customers deserve to know how and by whom these records and analytics could be used.”

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.
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