Buy groceries without long queues at the cash registers, that’s what Amazon promises. The retailer has now opened its first cashless “Fresh” store in London.
Amazon brings no till supermarkets to Europe with its first store in London. The store under the brand name Amazon Fresh opens on Thursday, as the agency PA announced, citing the company. Further shops are being planned in the British capital.
The concept is similar to the Amazon Go stores in the USA. Customers simply take items off the shelf and leave the store. Cameras and other sensors such as scales in the shelves register who has taken which goods. The price is debited via the app after leaving the shop.
“We know that customers in the UK want convenience to shop and we believe they will appreciate being able to easily walk in and out of the purchases they need,” said Amazon Fresh UK chief Matt Birch to PA.
Criticism of data protection
Criticism of the concept of Amazon Fresh comes from the non-profit organization Big Brother Watch, which is committed to civil rights and data protection. “[It] offers a dystopian shopping experience with full surveillance,” Big Brother Watch’s Silkie Carlo said, according to the BBC . “Amazon’s intensive customer tracking results in a larger personal data footprint than any other retailer. Customers deserve to know how and by whom these records and analytics can be used.”
According to Amazon, information collected in the store is linked to the corresponding Amazon customer account for up to 30 days. When using data, Amazon refers to its data protection website.
Amazon in the grocery store
In the United States, Amazon now has 28 Go stores in Seattle , Chicago, San Francisco and New York. Amazon has also been offering the technology to other retailers since last year.
There have been rumors for a long time about a broad entry of Amazon into the competitive British food market, while the organic chain Whole Foods, which was taken over by the online retailer, has several branches in London. It is expected that one of the larger chains will work with the group. Amazon Fresh has been delivering food ordered online in the UK since 2016. So far, however, the company has not really gained a foothold. According to estimates, the market share is currently 3 percent.