No tills, no queues and virtual payments – the future of the high street?

Early in 2018, Amazon launched a handful of shops with the initiative ‘Amazon Go’, where customers can take their items and walk out; nothing else is required.

Whilst in the past, the high street may have felt threatened by internet retail giants overshadowing their physical stores; interestingly now, internet retail has now joined the high street. Amazon has landed on the streets of America, with the aim to crack the UK, bringing with it a whole new retail experience.

With their new initiative called ‘Amazon Go’, Amazon’s new offering works by only allowing customers to enter their store with the Amazon Go app on their phone. Customers can then browse the store at their leisure, take what they need and then leave, without ever needing to put their hands in their pocket.

The app uses similar technology to self-driving cars, sensor fusion and deep learning. It automatically detects when items are taken out of the store or if they’re returned to the shelves. It keeps track of all the items brought in a virtual cart and shortly after the customer has left the store they will receive a receipt and the bill will be charged to their Amazon account.

Not all smooth shopping
Of course, the concept doesn’t come without setbacks and despite saving money on not using checkout staff, Amazon is currently needing to place staff in areas which wouldn’t usually be manned at supermarkets. For example, assistants are used at the alcohol section of the stores to ensure all customers are of a legal drinking age and the front doors of the store are currently manned by numerous guards to ensure customers have the required app.

Customers have also reported that they have walked out of the stores with items that they haven’t been charged for, although the Amazon Go vice president Gianna Puerini stated that incidents of that nature “happen so rarely we didn’t even bother building in a feature for customers to tell us it happened.”

Is this the future of high street retail?

For the high street to remain and flourish in this digital age, they need to adapt and ensure they’re not using outdated payment methods. Whilst this doesn’t mean to say that all bricks and mortar stores should work to adopt a similar methodology to Amazon Go, it’s certainly something to be aware of, along with other technological breakthroughs down the line.

At Commercial Insurance Services we are always keen to talk through your ideas for the future and plans for growth, no matter how ambitious. Our role is to ensure that your business is protected along the way for any unexpected events on the way.  To talk to one of our team, call 01737 373222.

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