Strategic U-turn at Amazon Fresh: in London, customers of the supermarket chain will now have the choice between automatic checkout using Just Walk Out technology or paying at a traditional, manned checkout.
In two new Amazon Fresh stores in Greater London, customers will now be given a choice: either use the standard Just Walk Out technology, where they check in with the app and automatically pay as they leave, or they can pay at a traditional, manned checkout. A surprising twist, with which Amazon hopes to reach a wider audience.
Despite frantic attempts, the retail giant is just not succeeding in forcing a real breakthrough in the all-important food retail market. Consequently, Amazon recently paused the expansion of its cashierless Amazon Go and Amazon Fresh chains until it has found the right recipe for success. A store in Dalston, in north-east London, even closed after just 18 months.
Struggling to win over customers
In the current difficult economic conditions, cashierless convenience stores are struggling to win over enough customers. Shoppers pay attention to costs, while prices at Amazon Fresh are relatively high – after all, the shops use very expensive technology. Moreover, by no means all consumers are willing to install the app and make payment automatically.
The retailer needs “a distinctive format that does well financially”, CEO Andy Jassy admitted. He did, however, point out that Whole Foods Market supermarkets, which Amazon acquired in 2017, are doing well. With a hybrid version of its cashierless store concept, Amazon hopes to attract more customers. But even online, the retailer does not have an easy time making money from weekly grocery shopping: recently, Prime members therefore have to pay delivery fees.