Amazon opened its doors to its seventh ‘just walk out’ Amazon Fresh shopping store in East Sheen, South West London on 17 November. The first high-tech Amazon Fresh shop launched in Ealing in London in March 2021 and all other store locations are also in the capital – Camden, Wembley Park, White City, Canary Wharf and Dalston.
Amazon is pioneering a brand new frictionless ‘no checkout’ approach to shopping in which shoppers use the Amazon app to scan their personal QR code at the entry point for the shop. Once in the store, shoppers can put their purchases straight into their bag and leave!
So, how does the system actually work? In order to get a QR code, you must be an Amazon Prime member. Using cameras and artificial intelligence, customers’ movements are tracked so all items picked up are tracked. All items will automatically be added to customers’ baskets. When you try to leave the store at the exit, the barrier will only open if payment has been successfully charged to the your payment method on their personal Amazon account.
The store is open from 7am – 11pm and sells everything a supermarket would sell plus more with hot food such as burritos and wraps plus a hot drinks vending machine. There is a fresh food section which sells fresh bread, freshly cooked cakes and pastries. The alcohol section in the corner includes a worker on site to ensure that people aged over 18 are not able to purchase alcohol.
In most other supermarkets, the cost of a meal deal is in the range of £3-5. However, the meal deal in Amazon Fresh is just £2.35 including a drink, sandwich and snack. Overall, branded products are priced reasonably compared to other supermarkets.
Local residents expressed their reactions to the new store on local media app NextDoor noting that ‘Big Brother is tracking your sausages’ and that the service is very fast.
There remain concerns about data protection due to the fact that Amazon can monitor all purchases on camera and also use the purchasing data to track individual buying habits, amassing customers personal data footprint, larger than any other retailer.