First look inside Amazon’s real-life shop as it goes to war with supermarkets


AMAZON today launches a store with no tills – where customers can grab goods, stick then in their bag and just walk out.

And as the US tech giant fires the first salvo in a likely war with UK supermarket giants, it is also launching its own By Amazon range of food from milk to bread to ready meals and sandwiches.

Amazon is opening a store with no tills — letting shoppers simply walk out with their purchases

In the new Amazon Fresh store, opening today at 7am, shoppers don’t even have to scan items – with a raft of cameras and sensors detecting what they pick up.

Each item is added to a “virtual basket” on the shopper’s phone and after walking out the total is charged to a saved card.

The 2,500 sq ft store in Ealing Broadway, West London is the first of “several” in the capital this year to use Just Walk Out tech – with the concept to be rolled out across the UK next year.

It has been in use in America for two years, where shops are known as Amazon Go.

High density residential areas near train, tube and bus stations plus areas with lots of offices are being lined up as locations.

The first Amazon Fresh store opens in Ealing Broadway, West London
Customers must scan a QR code to pass entry gates
The store offers a new ‘by Amazon’ food range plus fresh coffee machines

With meal deals – the cost of the sandwich or pasta plus £1 for a drink and snack – plus fresh coffee machines show the stores are geared up to workers grabbing lunch as much as people stocking up on essentials like milk, newspapers, cereal and washing powder.

Amazon hired former Sainsbury’s exec Matt Birch last year to head up the new stores, and their rollout.

He told HOAR: “We know the technology will delight our customers. The technology sets out to answer the question: ‘Who took what?’

“Anything a customer takes off the shelf is automatically added to their virtual cart. Anything they put back on the shelf comes out of their virtual cart.”

The store is about the same size and has the same layout and pricing as typical city and town-centre convenience stores from the likes of Tesco, Waitrose, Co-op and Sainsbury’s.

A nationwide rollout of stores will be set up near offices and transport hubs
Chosen items will pop up in the basket icon on the phone app

They have fresh fruit and veg, chiller cabinets and store cupboard goods like cereals and tins.

Plus there is fresh baked goods, hot food plus a big range of sandwiches as part of a meal deal.

By Amazon is the new own-label brand, with 2 pints of milk for 85p, 6 medium free range eggs 90p and 500g of British minced beef £2.75.

It will be sold alongside big brand names like Kellogg’s and Heinz and also items from Morrisons, which it already has a partnership with for same-day delivery of key groceries ordered from the Amazon website.

For online shoppers, there is an Amazon Hub for parcel return and pick up.

Amazon hired former Sainsbury’s exec Matt Birch to oversee the launch of several promised shops in the capital this year

Customer numbers will be limited to 20 while Covid restrictions remain, and a traffic light system will operate to let customers in. Masks will be mandatory, with free ones if people forget one.

Amazon has beaten Tesco to launch first in the UK, with the retailer also working on a similar concept after buying Israeli tech firm Trigo Vision.

Sainsbury’s also launched till-less stores in 2019 but shoppers had to scan the items themselves. But they soon had to put in tills after teething problems.

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