Amazon will today open its first UK “contactless” grocery store store, which enables shoppers to walk out of the store without using a checkout.
The first Amazon Fresh shop in Europe is located in the Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre and is the first of a number of planned openings in London.
Customers will scan a QR code on their way into the store, with cameras and technology identifying the items shoppers take from the shelves. They will then be charged for the items via an Amazon app on their mobile phone with a receipt emailed to them.
The stores will be similar to the 20 Amazon Go stores the company runs in the US but will operate under the Fresh brand it uses for its UK online grocery operations.
Matt Birch, the former Sainsbury’s executive who now leads Amazon Fresh Stores UK, said the company has strived to make grocery shopping “as convenient as possible”.
“The focus was just creating a really easy shopping experience for customers,” he said.
“We recognise that UK customers want to shop in a convenient way so we really think they will appreciate being able to walk in and walk out with the shopping they need.”
The company said it has also launched a By Amazon range of hundreds of own-brand products for the stores.
Contactless shopping is expected to become increasingly popular across retail, particularly post-pandemic as customers increasingly shun cash and seek to avoid touching frequently used items, such as keypads and screens.
Yesterday Chancellor Rishi Sunak upped the contactless limit for credit card transactions in-store in the UK from £45 to £100.
Shortly before Christmas global fashion giant Zara introduced a new concept store at Bluewater in Kent, which featured automated online order collection points and self-service checkouts.