Amazon Go hints at the future of retail stores

Shopping cart
The checkout-less shopping experience envisioned for the Amazon Go store is part of a long-term trend in retail automation. (Bigstock Photo)

First there were supermarket shelves. Then barcode scanners, then self-checkout lines, then online shopping. Amazon’s move to take the grocery checkout counter completely out of the loop is the latest disappearing act for the brick-and-mortar retail experience.

But it’s not unexpected: Walmart and Whole Foods also have been working on ways to streamline grocery shopping, using automation and robotics. And the competition could heat up quickly.

“Retailers will be looking to understand what percentage of their current customers are utilizing Amazon, with the thinking that these will be the customers that are most at risk to the Amazon threat,” Matt Sargent, senior vice president for retail at Frank N. Magid Associates, wrote last week in a post that anticipated Amazon’s latest move.

Magid’s research suggests that Amazon shoppers are weighted in favor of the under-44 population, those with kids in the household, those who go to grocery stores more than once a week, and those who make it a point to buy locally. In short, just the kinds of customers that grocery stores want to hang onto.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

Related story: Amazon to open first checkout-less grocery store in early 2017

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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