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jerryking : cashierless   11

Amazon to Launch New Grocery-Store Business
March 1, 2019 | WSJ | By Esther Fung and Heather Haddon.

Amazon is planning to open dozens of grocery stores in several major U.S. cities....as the retail giant looks to broaden its reach in the food business and touch more aspects of consumers’ lives......The new stores would be distinct from the company’s upscale Whole Foods Market chain. It isn’t clear whether the new stores would carry the Amazon name......Amazon in recent years has become increasingly focused on physical retail, posing a threat to traditional grocers. The new chain would help Amazon in fulfilling a yearslong initiative to build out a physical grocery presence, which was at one point potentially envisioned to reach more than 2,000 brick-and mortar stores in a variety of sizes and formats......Amazon is also exploring purchasing regional grocery chains with about a dozen stores under operation, one person said, that could bolster the new chain......Amazon’s further push into physical retail is its latest move far beyond its origins selling books and music on the web. Over the years it has become a cloud-computing giant, a major player in Hollywood entertainment and a burgeoning provider of logistics services. More recently it has emerged as a major competitor in digital advertising and launched forays in finance and health care......The new stores aren’t intended to compete directly with the more upscale Whole Foods stores and will offer a different variety of products, at a lower price point, these people said. Whole Foods doesn’t sell products with artificial flavors, colors, preservatives and sweeteners, among other quality standards.

Suppliers with big brands have hoped to have inroads into Whole Foods since Amazon bought the chain nearly two years ago. While Whole Foods has gradually expanded the big brands it carries—such as Honey-Nut Cheerios and Michelob beer—a conventional grocer can carry a much larger assortment of items. Amazon has had mixed results with its food-delivery business, and it wants to better understand how it can cater to grocery shoppers....Supermarket operators Walmart Inc., Kroger Co. and others are also trying to find ways to offer delivery and pickup to customers in a more cost-efficient manner...Amazon’s new grocery brand also comes as the retailer rolls out its cashierless Amazon Go stores in urban areas. It is testing that checkout technology for bigger retail stores. Meanwhile, Whole Foods is expanding its national footprint....For its new stores, Amazon is targeting new developments and occupied stores with leases ending soon.....Amazon doesn’t want restrictions on the type of goods it may sell at its stores and wants the ability to change the store and sell health and beauty products for instance......It is unclear whether these new stores will be cashierless, but they will be heavily tilted to customer service and pickup capabilities......a strategy where big retailers combine e-commerce with physical stores is the direction the industry is heading.
Amazon  BOPIS  bricks-and-mortar  cashierless  e-commerce  food  grocery  home-delivery  in-store  Kroger  new_businesses  physical_retail  rollouts  supermarkets  Wal-Mart  Whole_Foods 
march 2019 by jerryking
Want to See What’s Up Amazon’s Sleeve? Take a Tour of Seattle
Sept. 23, 2018 | The New York Times | By Karen Weise.

Amazon uses Seattle as a living laboratory, trying out new retail and logistics models.

Some trials never leave the city. But others, like the use of independent contractors to deliver packages, have found their ways to the rest of the country and abroad. The pilots point to a company, with ambitions that at times can seem boundless, investing deeply in figuring out its physical footprint and how to provide convenience at a lower cost.....In 2015 when Amazon first tested the Treasure Truck, a decorated vehicle that drives around and sells a daily deal like smart watches or plant-based burger patties, it delayed the public debut at least twice before finally going live. .....
Amazon  Amazon_Books  AmazonFresh  Amazon_Go  bookstores  business_models  cashierless  experimentation  new_businesses  Seattle  pilot_programs  product_returns  delivery_services 
september 2018 by jerryking
Imagining the Retail Store of the Future
APRIL 12, 2017 | The New York Times | By ELIZABETH PATON.

What will the store of the future look like? Gleaming robots using facial recognition technology to personalize sales pitches to mood or past spending preferences? Voice-activated personal assistants, downloading the availability, color and fit of any and every garment to your smartphone? 3-D printing stations? No checkout counters when you leave? Holographic product displays on the shop floor that change when a customer walks by? Virtual fitting rooms via virtual reality headsets? Drones dropping deliveries in the backyard or on the front steps?.......is this the sort of shopping experience that customers really want?
Scores of leading retailers and fashion brands increasingly say no.........Farfetch — the global online marketplace for independent luxury boutiques — held a daylong event at the Design Museum in London. There, in front of 200 fashion industry insiders and partners, José Neves, the founder of Farfetch, unveiled “The Store of the Future,” a suite of new technologies developed by his company to help brands and boutiques bridge the worlds of online and offline.......A report by Bain suggests that although 70 % of high-end purchases are influenced by online interactions, stores will continue to play a critical role, with 75 % of sales still occurring in a physical location by 2025.

What may change, however, is a store’s primary purpose. Forget e-commerce, or bricks and mortar, or even omnichannel sales; according to Mr. Neves, the new retail era is one anchored in “augmented retail,” a blend of the digital and physical allowing a shopper to shift seamlessly between the two realms.....Holition is an augmented-reality consultancy and software provider based in London that has worked with some well-known retail brands.......“The holy grail for retailers is creating digital empathy....No one knows what the future will look like....those using technology and data to create bespoke personalized shopping experiences...are more likely to come out on top.”.....boutiques and physical events remained vital “marketing opportunities,” with a more specialized inventory selection and the opportunity for customers to do more than buy merchandise......talks, film screenings and designer meet-and-greets, along with social media lessons, exercise classes and floristry sessions.......“Stores cannot just be row after row of product rail anymore,” he added. . “To survive, they have to tell stories — rooted in a sense of community and entertainment — and have points of view that makes the owner stand out.”.......“Ultimately the use of data to transform stores will separate those who make it to the next step and those who won’t.
reimagining  retailers  physical_place  shopping_malls  cashierless  e-commerce  reconceptualization  future  shopping_experience  brands  fashion  omnichannel  bricks-and-mortar  MatchesFashion  Holition  Yoox  facial-recognition 
february 2018 by jerryking
No lines, no registers, no fun: Amazon Go’s sterile future - The Globe and Mail
ELIZABETH RENZETTI

there's only one Amazon Go, located in the bottom of the company's Seattle headquarters, but you can bet more are on their way – especially since Amazon now owns the retail chain Whole Foods. The expansion of a chain of cashierless stores, whose shelves will one day likely be stocked by robots, raises many good questions about what kind of work we value and want for the future. Amazon's opaque data-collection procedures raise other important questions about privacy and information security..... We already know that, in the West, we suffer from a crisis of social isolation – what used to be called loneliness – that is so acute it is becoming a public-health crisis. Social interactions, even small and seemingly meaningless ones, can have great benefit to people who feel disconnected and adrift. A smile from a cashier or a commiseration from a fellow shopper could be the highlight of someone's day. ....."The more contact we have with other human beings, the better the world is, even if it's just a gas station attendant or a store clerk," Dr. Yarrow said. "This is how we form communities, in these seemingly inconsequential interactions."....But community-building isn't the buzzword of the moment – "seamlessness" is. That is, all experiences are meant to be as convenient as possible, requiring the least number of clicks, human interactions, waiting times. Friction is the enemy. Bumps are the enemy, and so, I gather, are sidesteps and interruptions and serendipity. I'm not sure if the proponents of seamlessness have ever listened to Leonard Cohen, or they would have heard the master's wisdom: "There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in."
Amazon  Amazon_Go  retailers  e-commerce  experimentation  soulless  Communicating_&_Connecting  sterile  loneliness  cashierless 
february 2018 by jerryking
Inside Amazon Go, a Store of the Future - The New York Times
Jan. 21, 2018 | NYT | By Nick Wingfield

....Amazon’s store of the future hits you right at the front door. It feels as if you are entering a subway station. A row of gates guard the entrance to the store, known as Amazon Go, allowing in only people with the store’s smartphone app......Every time customers grab an item off a shelf, Amazon says the product is automatically put into the shopping cart of their online account. If customers put the item back on the shelf, Amazon removes it from their virtual basket. The only sign of the technology that makes this possible floats above the store shelves — arrays of small cameras, hundreds of them throughout the store. Amazon won’t say much about how the system works, other than to say it involves sophisticated computer vision and machine learning software. Translation: Amazon’s technology can see and identify every item in the store, without attaching a special chip to every can of soup and bag of trail mix. ........Amazon Go, checking out feels like — there’s no other way to put it — shoplifting. ......A big unanswered question is where Amazon plans to take the technology. It won’t say whether it plans to open more Amazon Go stores, or leave this as a one-of-a-kind novelty. A more intriguing possibility is that it could use the technology inside Whole Foods stores, though Ms. Puerini said Amazon has “no plans” to do so.

There’s even speculation that Amazon could sell the system to other retailers, much as it sells its cloud computing services to other companies.
Amazon_Go  Amazon  cashierless  computer_vision  convenience_stores  customer_experience  grocery  machine_learning  one-of-a-kind  supermarkets  retailers  Whole_Foods 
january 2018 by jerryking
Big Prize in Amazon-Whole Foods Deal: Data - WSJ
By Laura Stevens and Heather Haddon
June 20, 2017

The deal for Whole Foods Market Inc., which people familiar with the matter said came together quickly, presents Amazon with several potential gains. It could use the stores as distribution hubs to build out its online grocery-delivery business. Amazon also could stock gadgets such as its Kindle e-readers and Echo speakers, as well as goods from its burgeoning private label.

The bigger opportunity, though, is data.

Amazon for years has been looking for more ways to gather information about how consumers shop. It has long been rumored to be on the prowl for a breakthrough deal, even as it set up its own much smaller Amazon Go and AmazonFresh Pickup stores as experiments.

If the deal goes through, the combination likely will be powerful. Amazon and Whole Foods can join their online and in-store knowledge to better predict what goods to carry in each store, said James Thomson, a former senior manager in business development at Amazon and now partner at the brand consultancy Buy Box Experts.....One enticing aspect of a deal between Amazon and Whole Foods is the significant overlap, analysts say, between the companies’ traditionally loyal customer bases.

A Morgan Stanley survey shows about 62% of Whole Foods shoppers are members of Amazon’s Prime service, opening the door for cross-sell promotions to entice customers who shop at both to spend more.

Amazon, though, doesn’t know how those customers shop in stores—a gaping hole in data about its more than 300 million shoppers.....Amazon has had a more difficult experiment with Amazon Go, its convenience-style store in which customers scan their phones as they walk in, pick up items to purchase and exit without a traditional checkout. The public opening has been delayed, in part because of technological hurdles and Amazon’s limited experience in managing the flow of customers and products in a physical space....

.......The data Amazon collects will likely help it decide which of its growing roster of private-label brands to expand and which new ones to launch, especially when it comes to consumables and food. Whole Foods already has a large private-label business...Bringing together online and offline data can help Amazon learn how to entice customers to make more impulse purchases online, according to analysts and retail consultants.
data  omnichannel  Amazon  Whole_Foods  physical_space  private_labels  impulse_purchasing  Amazon_Go  AmazonFresh  experimentation  cashierless  Amazon_Prime  cross-selling  in-store 
june 2017 by jerryking
Three Hard Lessons the Internet Is Teaching Traditional Stores
April 23, 2017 | WSJ | By Christopher Mims.
Legacy retailers have to put their mountains of purchasing data to work to create the kind of personalization and automation shoppers are getting online
(1) Data Is King
When I asked Target, Walgreens and grocery chain Giant Food about loyalty programs and the fate of customers’ purchasing data—which is the in-store equivalent of your web browsing history—they all declined to comment. ...Data has been a vital part of Amazon’s retail revolution, just as it was with Netflix ’s media revolution and Google and Facebook ’s advertising revolution. For brick-and-mortar retailers, purchasing data doesn’t just help them compete with online adversaries; it has also become an alternate revenue source when profit margins are razor-thin. ....Physical retailers must catch up to online retailers in collecting rich data without making it feel so intrusive. Why, exactly, does my grocery store need my phone number?

(2) Personalization + Automation = Profits
Personalization and Automation = Profits
There’s a debate in the auto industry: Can Tesla get good at making cars faster than Ford, General Motors and Toyota can get good at making self-driving electric vehicles? The same applies to retail: Can physical retailers build intimate digital relationships with their customers—and use that data to update their stores—faster than online-first retailers can learn how to lease property, handle inventory and manage retail workers? [the great game ]

Online retailers know what’s popular, and how customers who like one item tend to like certain others. So Amazon’s physical bookstores can put out fewer books with more prominently displayed covers. Bonobos doesn’t even sell clothes in its stores, which it calls “guideshops.” Instead, customers go there to try clothes on, and their selections are delivered through the company’s existing e-commerce system.

Amazon’s upcoming Go convenience stores, selling groceries and meal kits, don’t require cashiers. That’s the sort of automation that could position Amazon to reap margins—or slash prices—to a degree unprecedented for retailers in traditionally low-margin categories like food and packaged goods.

While online retailers are accustomed to updating inventory and prices by the hour, physical retailers simply don’t have the data or the systems to keep up, and tend to buy and stock on cycles as long as a year, says George Faigen, a retail consultant at Oliver Wyman. Some legacy retailers are getting around this by teaming up with online players.

Target stocks men’s shaving supplies from not one but two online upstarts, Harry’s and Bevel. Target has said that, as a result, more customers are coming in to buy razors, increasing the sales of every brand on that aisle—even good old Gillette. Retailers have long relied on manufacturers to drive customers to stores by marketing their goods and even managing in-store displays. The difference is this: In the past, new brands had to persuade store buyers to dole out precious shelf space; now the brands can prove themselves online first.

(3) Legacy Tech Won’t Cut It

Perhaps the biggest challenge for existing retailers, says Euromonitor’s Ms. Grant, is finding the money to transition to this hybrid online-offline model. While Target has announced it will spend $7 billion over the next three years to revamp its stores, investors fled the stock in February after Target reported 2017 profits might be 25% less than expected.

When Warby Parker, the online eyeglasses retailer, set out to launch stores across the U.S., the company looked for in-store sales software that could integrate with its existing e-commerce systems. It couldn’t find a system up to the task, so it built one from scratch.

These kinds of systems allow salespeople to know what customers have bought both online and off, and what they might be nudged toward on that day. “We call it the ‘point of everything’ system,” says David Gilboa, co-founder and co-chief executive.

Having this much customer knowledge available instantly is critical, but it’s precisely what existing retailers struggle with, Mr. Faigen says.

Even Amazon is experiencing brick-and-mortar difficulties. In March, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Go stores would be delayed because of kinks in the point-of-sale software system.

Andy Katz-Mayfield, co-founder and co-chief executive of Harry’s, is skeptical that traditional retailers like Wal-Mart can make the leap, even if they invest heavily in technology.

The problem, he says, is that selling online isn’t just about taking orders through a website. Companies that succeed are good at selling direct to consumers—building technology from the ground up, integrating teams skilled at navigating online marketing’s ever-shifting terrain and managing the experience through fulfillment and delivery, Mr. Katz-Mayfield says.

That e-commerce startups are so confident about their own future doesn’t mean they are right about the fate of traditional retailers, however.

A report from Merrill Lynch argues Wal-Mart is embarking on a period of 20% to 30% growth for its e-commerce business. A spokesman for the company said that in addition to acquisitions, the company is focused on growing its e-commerce business organically.

It isn’t hard to picture today’s e-commerce companies becoming brick-and-mortar retailers. It’s harder to bet on traditional retailers becoming as tech savvy as their e-competition.[the great game]
lessons_learned  bricks-and-mortar  retailers  curation  personalization  e-commerce  shopping_malls  automation  privacy  Warby_Parker  Amazon_Go  data  data_driven  think_threes  Bonobos  Amazon  legacy_tech  omnichannel  Harry’s  Bevel  loyalty_management  low-margin  legacy_players  digital_first  Tesla  Ford  GM  Toyota  automobile  electric_cars  point-of-sale  physical_world  contra-Amazon  brands  shelf_space  the_great_game  cyberphysical  cashierless  Christopher_Mims  in-store  digital_savvy 
april 2017 by jerryking
Amazon’s Living Lab: Reimagining Retail on Seattle Streets
FEB. 12, 2017 | The New York Times | By NICK WINFIELD.

While Amazon has never articulated the grand strategy behind its expansion into physical stores, analysts and tech executives believe its goal is to capture a bigger share of some forms of shopping — food being the biggest — that may never move entirely online....the most obvious reason the company tries out new ideas in its own backyard is that it makes life easier for corporate leadership to see them in action without having to get on planes. Executives closely scrutinize how customers use new stores and tweak them as they gather data....Amazon Go customers enter the store through a gate with a smartphone app and simply walk out with their goods when they’re done.....Seattle has long been receptive to new ideas in retail. REI, Costco Wholesale and Nordstrom are among the store chains that got their start here.....One of Amazon’s more puzzling retail experiments in Seattle is the Treasure Truck, a roaming delivery truck retrofitted with carnival-style lights and signs, from which customers can pick up items offered during flash sales through the Amazon mobile app. The truck, which seems like the offspring of a billboard and an ice cream truck, has sold wild mahi-mahi steaks, paddle boards and Nintendo game consoles.
Seattle  Amazon  retailers  reimagining  convenience_stores  flash_sales  AmazonFresh  BOPIS  pop-ups  Starbucks  Amazon_Go  bricks-and-mortar  bookstores  experimentation  e-commerce  cashierless 
february 2017 by jerryking
Amazon’s Next Big Move: Take Over the Mall
November 14, 2016 | Technology Review | by Nicholas Carr .

What’s Amazon doing with Amazon Books?...Wall Street analysts and tech writers have filled the void with conjecture. The stores are all about selling gadgets, goes one popular idea, with the books there just to lure customers. The stores are data-gathering machines, goes another, enabling Amazon to extend its tracking of customers into the physical world. Or maybe the company’s secret plan is to use the stores to promote its cloud computing operation, Amazon Web Services, to other retailers....The theories are intriguing, and they may contain bits of truth. But the real impetus behind the stores is probably much simpler: Amazon wants to sell more books....Not long ago, the common wisdom held that Amazon would remake the book business in its own image. Its Web store would kill off bookstores, and its Kindle would render physical books obsolete. ...
“Pure-play Web retailing is not sustainable.”Bezos underestimated the allure of bricks and paper. With his bookstore chain, he now seems to be admitting that if Amazon is to expand its share of the book market, it will need to invest in bricks as well as bits....Having come up short in its plan to supplant books and bookstores with digital alternatives, the company is taking its revenge by attacking traditional bookshops on their own turf. Unlike the mom-and-pop independents, or even the struggling Barnes & Noble chain, Amazon has the scale and the cash required to wage a war of attrition. It can sustain losses on its stores for a long time.....Amazon Books may be just the vanguard of a much broader push into brick-and-mortar retailing by the company. In October, the Wall Street Journal revealed that Amazon is planning to open a chain of convenience stores, mainly for groceries, along with drive-in depots where consumers will be able to pick up merchandise ordered online. It has also begun rolling out small “pop-up” stores to hawk its electronic devices. It already has more than two dozen such kiosks in malls around the country, and dozens more are said to be in the works.

Even after 20 years of rapid growth, e-commerce still accounts for less than 10 percent of total retail sales. And now the rise of mobile computing places new constraints on Web stores.At the same time, the smartphone, with its apps, its messaging platforms, and its constant connectivity, gives retailers more ways to communicate with and influence customers, even when they’re shopping in stores. This is why the big trend in retailing today is toward “omnichannel” strategies, which blend physical stores, Web stores, and mobile apps in a way that makes the most of the convenience of smartphones and overcomes their limitations.....Beyond its expertise in Web sales, Amazon brings distinctive strengths to an omnichannel operation. Its vast, efficient network of warehouses and distribution centers can supply outlets and process returns. It has, thanks to the largesse and patience of its investors, a reservoir of cheap capital that it can draw on to fund a building spree. And it has a much-admired brand. What Amazon lacks is experience in the touchy-feely world of traditional retailing (e.g. merchandising??). The company’s proficiency in software and data crunching is unquestioned. Its people skills are another matter..... another of the store’s goals: to promote the Prime program, which is central to Amazon’s strategy of locking in customers....I feel let down. I had convinced myself that I was going to witness something fresh and unexpected at Amazon Books. What I found was an annex to a website—a store that, despite the bricks and paper, retains the coldness of the virtual.
e-commerce  shopping_malls  Amazon  Amazon_Prime  books  sterile  soulless  Nicholas_Carr  Amazon_Books  bricks-and-mortar  Jeff_Bezos  pure-plays  bookstores  omnichannel  strengths  smartphones  mobile_applications  loyalty_management  impersonal  people_skills  Achilles’_heel  weaknesses  convenience_stores  pop-ups  kiosks  voids  merchandising  AWS  physical_world  mom-and-pop  coldness  touchy-feely  cyberphysical  emotional_connections  empathy_vacuum  Amazon_Go  cashierless  locked_in  distribution_centres 
february 2017 by jerryking
Amazon Working on Several Grocery-Store Formats, Could Open More Than 2,000 Locations - WSJ
By LAURA STEVENS and KHADEEJA SAFDAR
Updated Dec. 5, 2016

Amazon.com Inc. unveiled Monday its first small-format grocery store, Amazon Go, one of at least three brick-and-mortar formats the online retail giant is exploring as it makes a play for an area of shopping that remains stubbornly in-store....The Amazon Go store, at roughly 1,800 square feet in downtown Seattle, resembles a convenience store-format in a video Amazon released Monday. It features artificial intelligence-powered technology that eliminates checkouts, cash registers and lines. Instead, customers scan their phone on a kiosk as they walk in, and Amazon automatically determines what items customers take from the shelves. After leaving the store, Amazon charges their account for the items and sends a receipt....While Amazon is moving into brick-and-mortar grocery shopping, other large retailers are expanding their online services. Wal-Mart’s curbside pickup service offers some convenience without the cost of home delivery.
Amazon  Amazon_Go  grocery  supermarkets  analog  home-delivery  e-commerce  small_spaces  store_footprints  bricks-and-mortar  artificial_intelligence  AmazonFresh  convenience_stores  cashierless  in-store 
december 2016 by jerryking

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