On Thursday, Amazon.com Inc said, it will open its first brick-and-mortar store in Britain, its first physical store outside the United States.
The cashierless store, dubbed “Amazon Fresh,” will be located in the London Borough of Ealing and will carry a private UK food brand it’s calling “by Amazon”. Customers who shop at this store will not have to enter into a checkout line since they will be billed according to their purchases.
The development underscores Amazon.com Inc’s ambition to sell food globally; it also belies its belief that physical stores are important means to capture the groceries market, a category that it has yet to dominate.
So far, it has worked towards that goal in the United States by acquiring the Whole Foods Market chain in 2017 and testing shoppers’ interests with an array of conveniences, including opening dozen cashierless convenience stores called Amazon Go, and opening two Amazon Go Grocery stores in the Seattle-area. The Company also has 10 Amazon Fresh supermarkets in California and Illinois.
Much like the Amazon Go stores, British customers will scan a smartphone app to open the UK store’s entry gates. Ceiling cameras and shelf weight censors determine what shoppers add to their carts or put back, and their on-file credit cards are billed once they exit.
The brick-and-mortar store, much smaller than a supermarket, will sell select groceries, prepared meals, and Amazon devices; it will also have a counter for picking up and returning online orders.