Amazon Fresh till-less grocery store opens in London

Is this a glimpse into the future of shopping?

Visitors to Amazon Fresh store scan a smartphone app when entering and are automatically billed as they leave.

Once inside, shoppers can pick up the goods they want without scanning them or visiting a till as motion sensors, cameras and other technology monitor the goods chosen. The bill is automatically charged to shoppers’ Prime account when they leave the store.

The Amazon Fresh store in Ealing, west London, is only available to those signed up to Amazon’s Prime subscription service, and customers must scan in a code on their phone to gain entry.

The store stocks hundreds of own-brand items as well as third-party products, and also serves as a place to collect and return goods bought online.

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Campaigners have raised privacy concerns but one retail expert said the opening marked a “watershed moment”.

“Having a physical presence will enable Amazon to address some of its weaknesses, like the mounting cost of deliveries and returns,” said Natalie Berg, an analyst with NBK Retail.

But she said she did not believe it would pose a threat to the major chains in the near term.

“Supermarkets have had a few years now to prepare and test their own checkout-free shopping concepts.”

Amazon’s approach, however, promises a more “frictionless” experience than other retailers.

It will sell prepared meals, some groceries, and Amazon devices, as well as having a counter for collecting and returning online orders.

The technology can also register when someone has put an item back on the shelf, if they change their mind, for instance.

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