Amazon is laying the foundation to bring its futuristic checkout-free Amazon Go stores to the UK and Europe, in order to break into the $800 billion online grocery global market.
The UK Intellectual Property Office on Friday approved Amazon Inc’s application to trademark the slogans “No Lines. No Checkout. (No, Seriously.)” and “No Queue. No Checkout. (No, Seriously.)” An equivalent application for Europe is also being reviewed.
Last year the Seattle-based company launched its first checkout-free cashier-free Amazon Go store, which is conveniently compact for busy customers who can select convenience products from shelves and carry merchandise out of the store without stopping by a checkout.
The system uses the same technology that is utilised in self-driving cars, which includes computer vision, deep learning and sensor fusion, according to Amazon. The store still is in beta testing phase, available to Amazon employees only, though customers will be notified when it’s open to the public.
UK’s online grocery shopping sector is more advanced than it is in the US, so perhaps Amazon may see more success there, however it may also face some pretty serious competition in UK and Europe if Walmart’s venture there is any indication.
The grocery retail sector is somewhat in a quandary at the moment, overwhelmed by complicated operations and slight margins, with many of Amazon’s efforts largely experimental.
The UK in particular is in the middle of price wars, largely driven by low-cost no frilled German grocery chains like Aldi and Lidl. In response, Walmarts Asda UK grocery chain and rival supermarkets Tesco, Sainsbury and Morrisons have been bringing down their prices in order to negate the threat.
How Amazon Go Works
Customers use the Amazon Go app to enter the store via a check-in much like that at a train station; basically they tap their smartphone on the turnstile and enter. Customers can then put away their smartphone and start shopping. Anything the shopper picks up in-store is immediately added to their virtual card (via the Amazon Go app). If a customer changes their mind, they simply put the item back, and it’s automatically removed from their virtual card.