Where Might Amazon Go Go?

 
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Next Exit: TOMORROW

This week Amazon launched its cashier-less convenience store, Amazon Go, in Seattle. Download the app, scan yourself into the store, pick up your items and walk out. No checkout required.

Early reviews are positive, and focus mostly on the experience and how the store works (cameras, lots and lots of cameras).

(The comments section about shoplifting reveal much about consumer attitudes in Seattle, but let’s save that for another day).

What strikes us (so far) is that few, if any, are commenting on where this first step is taking Amazon, and the entire retail channel, especially C-stores. Other than acknowledging that this is the dawn of a new day in retail – frictionless shopping, some call it, there’s not much speculation on what’s next.

Kevin Coupe, who writes about the retail business at MorningNewsBeat.com, reminds us that Jeff Bezos once said, “it’s not an experiment if you know how it is going to turn out.” Bezos knew that Amazon wasn’t just going to sell books. Amazon Go isn’t about disrupting convenience stores. It’s about changing the shopping experience.

Coupe equates the experience at Amazon Go to paying a toll using electronic tolling versus paying cash. Once you’ve zipped through the express pay lane, you’ll never want to stop and pay at the booth again.

Implication for Winning Tomorrow

There’s some runway before cashier-less stores take over retail, but not much. To anyone in a business that requires a customer to stop and hand you cash or a credit card, our advice is this: Think about how you would evolve to a system that eliminates that hassle.

The local multiplex already offers it. So does Starbucks. But when will Lowes or Home Depot? Or Walmart? Or Target? Ordering online and picking up at the store is still a hassle.

Everything Amazon does — Prime same-day delivery, Amazon Lockers, Amazon Go, Whole Foods — and will do (drones?), is to make shopping and acquiring goods easier and more convenient.

The question isn’t where will Amazon Go go, but where will your customers go?

 
Matt ThornhillfutureComment