Amazon has opened its first contactless grocery store in the UK today where shoppers can pick up their goods and leave without having to visit a till.
The Amazon Fresh store in Ealing, west London, is only available to those signed up to Amazon’s Prime subscription service, and customers must scan in a code on their phone to gain entry.
Once inside, shoppers can pick up the goods they want without scanning them or visiting a till as motion sensors, cameras and other technology monitor the goods chosen. The bill is automatically charged to shoppers’ Prime account when they leave the store.
While customers won’t need to interact with a member of staff, Amazon says workers will be on site to handle queries, restock shelves and prepare food.
The store will stock about 10,000 grocery products from well-known brands, its own By Amazon grocery range, as well as items from its retail partners Morrisons and Booths. The 2,500 sq ft store will also be a place to pick up or return other items bought on Amazon.
The online retailer is thought to have 10 sites for additional Amazon Fresh stores lined up in the UK after three years of research.
Clive Black, an analyst at Shore Capital, said he believed Amazon would want up to 30 such outlets in the first phase of its expansion here. The group already has more than 20 similar contactless grocery stores in the US under the name Amazon Go.
Black said the new store could be a “seminal moment in the history of the UK grocery market” which indicated Amazon’s ambitions in the sector. “The patient and rather delicate expansion that the group has taken to date in the UK, revolving around gradually building its online service, notably in collaboration with Morrisons, and its investment in the rapid delivery channel through Deliveroo, were never to us going to be the full extent of its ambitions,” he said.
Amazon, which sells the vast majority of its goods online but already owns the Whole Foods Market business which has seven stores in the UK, has also previously opened pop-up shops for fashion and non-food items. It has offered its online grocery delivery service Amazon Fresh for several years.