AmazonFresh: Shaping the future of shopping

5 March 2021
Nour Khalifeh

Nour Khalifeh

Accounts & Operations Manager

Looking after our clients and keeping Spotless running.

AmazonFresh opened their first brick and mortar ’just walk out’’ store in the UK yesterday, and I have been lucky to get into that queue, before it went on for hours, to experience it on the first day of launch!

We, at Spotless, are quite excited when it comes to new and innovative products and services – and we’re always keen to go out on a service safari and experience new solutions first-hand. The new AmazonFresh has landed in Ealing, one tube stop away from where I live. I was in need of some groceries and so it made total sense to go to Amazon in real life and try out the contactless shopping experience.

   

A Service Safari is a useful tool to gather insights and inspiration by placing yourself in the shoes of the user and approaching the service experience first-person.

   

   

The shopping experience step by step – How does it work?

The new store brings its online version to life with some innovative technologies. Using tech like sensored cameras and weight sensors allows customers to:

  1. Enter the store by scanning a QR code through the app
  2. Take down items from any shelf and put it straight into their own bag (or bags provided in store) and
  3. Walk out without having to queue and check out

Amazon detects what you have picked up and it charges it directly to your card.

   

   

As a customer, I’m always looking for ways to make my shopping easier, whether it’s getting up super early to avoid queues or do my grocery shopping online to save time. My first experience trying out AmazonFresh definitely addressed many of the pain points I associate with shopping.

  • First of all, you need to be registered with Amazon. You do not need to be a Prime member, however, you need to have an account with a debit or credit card linked to it
  • You will need to download the Amazon app to your phone
  • Once you arrive at the store, you log into your account and click onto your ‘’basket’’ and click ‘’Fresh Code’’ which will take you to a QR code
  • Arrive at the front door, scan in the QR code and you’re in through the gate!
  • Simply put your phone away and pick up the items you need and place them in your own shopping bag (or free bags provided in-store)
  • Once you have everything you need, simply walk out of the store!

   

   

The journey through the store is frictionless without the need to interact with staff members. However, the staff is available to assist should you need it.

At first, this felt a little like someone was constantly watching me (which technically they are with all the sensors) and I couldn’t help but feel that I was taking something, without paying for it.

Not only is the store for picking up groceries, but they also have a coffee station too ready for you to take away with you! As well as that, you will find the Amazon Hub to pick up or return an order purchased through Amazon online, making the process even easier.

   

   

Reflections on the new shopping experience

Where do non-digital people go in a digital-only future?

There are definitely some great things about this new shopping experience:

  • Less hassle when shopping
  • Skip queues
  • No need to take out your card to pay, and no waiting around

This certainly works out well for those who are tech-savvy and have access to digital devices, which allows them to download apps. Many are equipped with a smartphone today, but what about those who don’t even have a mobile phone or a card and can only use cash?

   

One touchpoint did not line up with the ‘worry free’ experience

One thing I noticed when I left the store was that I didn’t receive a receipt immediately after exiting the store. And there wasn’t any information on my Amazon account to show what had just been bought and how much I’d spent.

I also went to check my bank statement on ‘’pending transactions’’ to see if it started processing the payment, but I couldn’t find any information on there – something we’ve gotten quite used to since challenger banks started giving us instant updates on our spending and transactions.

The receipt from Amazon did land in my inbox, but not until 4 hours later. Definitely a touchpoint of the journey that didn’t line up with the ‘easy’ and ‘worry-free’ experience they want to provide to their customers.

This is one design flaw that would need to be rectified to allow customers to have more confidence in the sense that what they are being charged for is actually the items that they have placed in their shopping bags.

   

Trip time and instant reviews

One cool feature is that they put the ‘’trip time’’ on your receipt (how long you spent in the store). Additionally, you get an itemised receipt of which you can then leave feedback on each individual item, which is a smart move from Amazon to encourage people to review their products.

   

News ways of influencing our shopping habits

Some concerns include data privacy and wondering exactly how Amazon tracks your every single move. In their own description of how this works, Amazon states:

“Our checkout-free shopping experience is made possible by the same types of technologies used in self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning. Just Walk Out Technology automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual basket”

The implication of using this self-service, with sensors and camera recognition, is that Amazon may now be able to match your facial expressions to match it to your shopping habits and is able to use big data to influence your shopping habits.

This could be the future of shopping as long as you are comfortable and consent to your data being used to create a smoother and more convenient experience.

   

Share:
Ben Logan - Director

Got a project in mind?

Ben is on hand to answer your questions.