Grocery Shopping

Amazon is planning to eliminate the worst part of grocery shopping — the cashier line — with its Amazon Go stores. The prototype convenience store is now available to Amazon employees in Seattle as the company tests its product offerings and technology applications.

Designed to appeal to consumers who pick up groceries on the way home from work, the 1,800-square-foot store is stocked with prepared foods and snacks, as well as staple grocery items such as milk, meats, dairy, baked goods and fresh produce.[1] As rollout progresses this year in other cities across the country, Amazon plans to add well-known brands and specialty food items, depending on customer preferences and market analysis. Customers also will be able to pick up Amazon Tastemakers meal kits, created through a collaboration with Tyson Foods, which include all the ingredients needed to create a meal for two in 30 minutes.[2]

Amazon is combining computer vision, artificial intelligence and other technologies used in self-driving cars to create a shopping experience that eliminates checkout lines. Customers scan their smartphones upon entering the store. The technology detects when products are taken off the shelf and keeps track of what’s in the shopper’s cart. When customers are done shopping, they simply leave the store and the purchase is charged to their Amazon.com account.[3]

Supporting online grocery purchases through the Amazon Go stores looks to be one of Amazon’s next steps. Online grocery purchases represent only 2% of U.S. grocery sales, but that number is expected to grow substantially over the next few years.[4] With that in mind, Amazon is likely to add curbside pick-up for online orders made through its Amazon Fresh grocery subscription service, as well as same-day delivery for items such as cereal, peanut butter and other staples with longer shelf lives.[5] Plans are for customers to be able to schedule drive-thru pick-up within a two-hour window or request same-day delivery.

[1] “Amazon Go Debuts as a New Grocery Store Without Checkout Lines,” by Leena Rao, Fortune, Dec. 5, 2016. Available at: http://fortune.com/2016/12/05/amazon-go-store/

[2] “Amazon Go Debuts as a New Grocery Store Without Checkout Lines,” by Leena Rao, Fortune, Dec. 5, 2016. Available at: http://fortune.com/2016/12/05/amazon-go-store/

[3] “Amazon Go Debuts as a New Grocery Store Without Checkout Lines,” by Leena Rao, Fortune, Dec. 5, 2016. Available at: http://fortune.com/2016/12/05/amazon-go-store/

[4] “Are Groceries the Next Big Driver of Global eCommerce?” Morgan Stanley Research, Jan. 22, 2016. Available at: http://www.morganstanley.com/ideas/online-groceries-could-be-next-big-ecommerce-driver

[5] Amazon to Expand Grocery Business With New Convenience Stores,” by Greg Bensinger and Laura Stevens, The Wall Street Journal, Oct. 12, 2016. Available at: http://www.wsj.com/articles/amazon-to-expand-grocery-business-with-new-convenience-stores-1476189657

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