Amazon opens first checkout-free store in London, its first outside the US

Image Source: Bloomberg

Amazon has opened its first no checkout store in the West London borough of Ealing, and this is its first outside of the United States.

To use this new outlet, customers have to, first, download an app and then scan a QR code. Subsequently, they can pass through an electronic gate that allows them to browse a range of Amazon-brand products.

The 2,500 square feet store is powered by AI. Here, sensors and cameras keep a tab on the items that you pick from the shelves of the store and put in your basket. The charges for the items are automatically applied to a customer’s card at exit via the Amazon Go app. So, customers are not required to show their cards or stand at checkout counters for their billing. They simply leave the store after they have picked the items.

“Our Amazon Fresh store in Ealing is the size of your typical convenience food store, which is roughly 2,500 square feet in the front of house,” Amazon wrote in a FAQ. “We’re excited to bring this concept to the UK and look forward to opening additional stores in the Greater London area.”

While Amazon started such stores in the United States since 2018 – Amazon’s first physical store called Amazon Go opened in Seattle, USA in January 2018, this is the first such store in the UK. The outlet, according to Amazon, is the “first convenience grocery store to offer just walk out shopping in the UK” and its “first physical shop and grocery store outside of the US”.

In the US, Amazon has around 25 Amazon Go stores in various cities such as Seattle, New York, Chicago, and San Francisco.

And, this is certainly a new experience for many shoppers.

“It was really strange, it felt like I was a criminal, because I was just taking things and putting them straight in my bag,” 71-year-old Ealing resident Philippa Dolphin told AFP.

“But apparently there are cameras watching me. And then you just walk out! It didn’t seem right but I was assured it was okay!” she added.

This really is an interesting concept, isn’t it? Would you be interested in having this no checkout shopping experience? Let us know your views in the comments section below.

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