On Feb. 22, the eCommerce giant — which alone generated about 4 percent of all U.S. retail sales in 2017 — opened its first brick and mortar convenience store in Seattle. The 1,800 sq. ft store, Amazon Go, is unique in that it has no cashiers or checkout lines. It’s a completely connected facility that uses sensors and cameras to monitor customers and bill them for transactions.
You may recall Panasonic’s robotic checkout system, which scans and bags groceries. Amazon Go is a major advancement, as customers don’t even need to scan items or even take out a phone. The store’s sensors communicate with the Amazon Go app, and automatically charge customers when they leave the store.
Regardless of how Amazon Go pans out, it clearly raises the bar in the brick and mortar retail industry. The industry is becoming increasingly automated, connected and consumer-centric. Amazon has introduced a new shopping method that is completely seamless for consumers, and you can bet that other retailers are taking notice. Expect a trickle down effect to happen, as competitors look to streamline their own operations and shorten the path to purchase for consumers.
The good news is that recent advancements in the platform as a service industry make it easier for brick and mortar retailers to get started. One company that is making waves in this space, for instance, is Mavatar which offers a platform that simplifies and shortens the path to purchase for consumers. The product, mCart, allows customers to create personal carts and fill them with products from a variety of locations. Using mCart, customers can even share their products or pay for them from a centralized location.
The key takeaway here is that the industry is changing, and retailers would be well-advised to start seeking new methods of connecting with consumers and streamlining the shopping experience. This trend will only accelerate in the coming months.