Amazon Go - the future of retail?


Amazon Fresh I think you mean. Yeah, it’s great if you like limited selection and don’t actually like to pick out higher quality non-prepackaged items yourself.

And then you have Amazon Pantry, where anything fragile will be broken. They do try to put the canned goods in a separate compartment than your potato chips…doesn’t matter, the chips will be broken into small pieces. And again, selection is horrible.

It’s all a neat idea, but it’s not there yet. Anyway, I don’t mind grocery shopping. Amazon Go looks great though.


Yeah, Amazon Fresh doesn’t really make sense in the UK at the moment, where it’s competing with a wide range of highly competitive online grocery services. The range is super limited compared to those and delivery isn’t as flexible. And they have the nerve to charge you a monthly fee on top of Prime for it. The one thing it has going for it, in London, is delivery of specialist items from certain foodie locations (eg Borough Market, Marylebone). So, at least for some things, the quality can be higher than from Tesco or Ocado or whatever. But you really pay up for that, and you miss out on the fun of browsing the market and picking out the cuts of meat or individual cheeses or whatever.


Chequebooks? Long lines? Supermarkets in the US sound like some 1990s hell. :)

For the past 15(?) years I’ve tried to always shop at supermarkets that have personal hand scanners, e.g. Tesco or Sainsbury’s. I pick one up a scanner at the door, and as I go round I scan the items I pick up and I put them directly into my bag. At the end I go to the checkout, scan a code, pay and leave. You can go to any normal checkout, or a special checkout just for the scanners, so there’s usually no waiting around.

This Amazon Go idea is really cool for a tech point of view, but functionally it only eliminates pressing a button on a scanner as you go around, and paying at the end. (Which, if under £30, I can do with contactless. Except in Sainsburys, but that’s getting contactless next-year! Cheques are pretty much dead in the UK. I think they’re going to be completely phased out by 2020? The only people that use them are grannies sending birthday money). And the paying-at-the-end thing could be eliminated by automatically charging my card linked to my Tesco/Sainsburys account.

As for online ordering of groceries – I’ll never do it, at least not for fresh things. Everytime I’ve attempted to shop online the stuff I get is battered, bruised and about to go out of date. I like to fondle my food in a shop before I buy it.


Just stumbled across this chart, which is relevant to the discussion:


Oddly, I kind of like grocery shopping, but that’s partly because I’m lucky enough to live where the stores are big enough and have enough variety to cover my wants and needs, but where the population is low enough and mostly laid-back enough that the experience never really gets hectic. I tend to shop daily, or nearly so, buying small quantities of stuff except for occasional Costco runs for things like paper products or the few bulk purchases we can reasonably expect to consume.

Growing up, it was a very different experience. We shopped once every two weeks maybe? Usually at the commissary on the Army base we were either stationed at/near or, after my father retired from the Army, the base we simply lived near. Those were horrendous expeditions of doom, indeed. Later on, living in the DC area, shopping was a lot more crowded and hectic, so I tended to go as little as possible.

But today, hardly anyone in the store uses a checkbook, the lines are generally short, there’s usually self-checkouts (that admittedly suck compared to other systems), and I like browsing sometimes. We do get a fair amount of non-perishables from Amazon though.

I like the idea of the hand scanner, but I fear in the USA no one would do that because they’d be terrified the scanners would all walk out with customers, on purpose or otherwise.


They’re pretty bulky, so not easy to forget about, and I’m sure the store will sound an alarm if you try to leave with one. Besides, it’s not like they have any resale value other than for scrap.


Here’s the one at my local (non-Express) supermarket:


I’m really liking the new system at Sams Club. You download an app and tie it to your membership card. As you’re walking through putting things in your cart, you scan them with your phone. When you’re done shopping you walk in to the quick-check line, your items are already in the system, you pay the computer and you’re done. As you’re leaving the store they have a couple of people at the exit double-checking your receipt to make sure you paid for everything. The quick-check line is so much quicker than having to go through a standard line with a cashier.

Not sure that would necessarily work with a standard grocery store, but it works well in a big-box like Sams.

Here at work we have a thing called “Company Kitchen”. It’s an unstaffed convenience store. They have fresh food, soda, little snacks (chips, candy bars, etc.) and just anything else, food/drink wise, that you would expect to see at a 7-11 or QuickTrip. You scan it yourself, pay for it yourself, and it’s all on the honor system. Again, probably wouldn’t work for a grocery store, but it’s great when you just need to pick up a meal or snack at work.


I guess this is a thing that could exist?

But, I have always completely encouraged people to seek out grocery delivery services. Most newer stores have delivery. In my area, there are multiple Hyvee grocery stores that offer delivery, or pickup. (I usually do the pickup) It is so much easier and cheaper than going into the store. I am much less likely to impulse buy a bunch of crap that isn’t on my list when I am picking out stuff online.

I thought that grocery delivery was wizardry, but I would hazard a bet that most people online could find a place that delivers near them. Changed my life.

Hyvee offers delivery for free if you spend more than 100 bucks, but I usually tip the drivers 10 bucks anyway. I actually feel really bad about having them drive out, so often I do the pickup because I live fairly close to the store, and I can stop on my way home from work.

Such a time-saver.

I suspect something like this will be nice for quick runs to the grocery store to pick up an ingredient I have missed, but the self checkout lanes work decently well for quick check-outs of small batches of items.


They are pretty much dead in the US as well. I hadn’t seen anyone writing a check in a grocery store in years…until this week. Older person, who didn’t even pull out the checkbook until the clerk was done. It actually made me smile in a nostalgic sort of way.


Americans, I am convinced, will steal anything that they can possible fit into their car.


These people need to be rounded up and placed in a camp.


The way things are going in the world, that is a distinct possibility. ;)


I think old white folks who move slowly with checkbooks are the new world order, not the ones at risk for being placed in a camp.


I love you, man.[quote=“TheWombat, post:51, topic:127377”]
Americans, I am convinced, will steal anything that they can possible fit into their car.

Which is everything because we absolutely must drive the largest possible vehicle that we can('t) afford.


The first location in Seattle is open to the public today. It seems to be working fine despite the influx of reporters and curiosity-seekers.

If you work at Whole Foods, this can’t be reassuring.


No, but on the other hand most of the jobs this development threatens have already gone thanks to self-checkout. Most non-giant supermarkets I go to these days have just one person on the tills at any given time, and maybe, maybe one person overseeing the self-checkout line.

To be fair, this may be less true in the US. Baggers and greeters aren’t really a thing over here. But the Amazon Go store still needs shelf stackers and kitchen staff.


Not for much longer. Though I suppose there are still some jobs.


None of the groceries I frequent have self checkout at all, and most have a bagger as well as a checkout person at each active register. Now, they may only have a couple active registers depending on time and day. But still.


Yup. Amazon literally has scores of robots that do nothing but stock items on shelves and pick items off shelves. They’re warehouse and distribution only for now, but give it a few years.