The last time Amazon showed us it’s automated Amazon Go grocery store we were dazzled, to say the least. Amazon has been retailers worst nightmare but from now onwards the battle has further intensified as Amazon has decided to take their first step into actual physical retail and will be building up physical stores as well. To begin with, the grocery stores will be indifferent from the traditional ones, needless to say, Amazon will implement automation and employ robots in the store. All of this is expected to put the traditional jobs in the fray.
These stores will also add up as mini-Amazon warehouses which will help quicken those Prime Deliveries. By locating the stores near to the customer’s houses the company will not only deliver faster but will also save on the logistics part. Amazon will also consider using augmented reality and virtual reality to better the shopping experience. According to NYT, the emphasize will be on Amazon devices including the Echo and Prime services.
We already had a glimpse of a fully automated grocery store which will allow users to buy stuff and simply walk away without having to stand at the cash registers. The hyper-automation is expected to take a dig at the workers and will mostly cause a large scale unemployment. Again this is more of a forecast and in reality, the human role might not be eliminated in a jiffy. Be aware that if Amazon succeeds in automating the checkout others will soon form a beeline and implement a similar technology.
The Physical Stores
Amazon seems to have hit a point of maturity when it comes to online consumers, adding new customers is not easier anymore. The next obvious step for Amazon or any other e-commerce company, as a matter of fact, is to fish for consumers who prefer shopping offline. In fact, this is the very reason why Amazon wants to ramp up its offline presence by actually opening up physical stores. These stores will shape up as destinations wherein consumers can actually touch and get the feel of the product before buying it. Also, the stores will exhibit products like Furniture, electronics and other things that one is usually hesitant of buying before having an actual look at the products.
A week ago Amazon opened up its fifth bookstore in Chicago amid the protests by the Chicago booksellers. The company has also announced five more bookstores in other locations. The bottom line is that Amazon wants a larger pie of offline market and it intends to do so by spearheading a fleet of physical stores.
The Indian Perspective
India has been one of the largest market in terms of volume for Amazon and the company has never been shy of opening up its coffers and investing in India. It has already sought approval from the Indian government in order to throw open online and physical foot stores.According to sources, Amazon is hoping to open up their first store in Bangalore (also the first city in India to get Amazon Fresh). The company also has a code name for Indian grocery initiative, “Project Everest.”
Amazon has been bullish about the physical store’s initiatives but the reality begs to differ. The pace at which Amazon is unveiling new stores is sluggish, the entire exercise of introducing physical stores started five years ago. From the looks of it, Amazon is yet to decide on the retail format it will choose for scaling up. Apparently, Amazon also has a more simplified format that includes stocking fresh produce, meats, and other items all the whilst employing humans to pack and deliver the same. It will be interesting to see how Amazon will carve a place for itself in the offline retail markets.