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EDITORIAL Is everyone going to be an Amazon Go store?

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Amazon is planning to open a raft of its infamous Go Stores around the US following what we can only assume has been a successful trial of the concept in Seattle. But retailers shouldn’t be quaking in their boots: everyone can be a Go-like store – and Co-op is proving the point.

At the Co-op, Time-pressed shoppers will soon be able to pay in the aisle and avoid visiting a till all together as they use their own phone to purchase goods at the Co-op with an innovative App built with Mastercard’s secure digital payments expertise.

The ‘shop, scan and go’ initiative is being trialled at the Co-op’s store located at the retailer’s support centre in Manchester, with a wider roll-out beginning as early as this summer which is expected to include a further trial at the Co-op’s store located in the UK HQ of Microsoft.

No, not revolutionary, but more shows just how retailers are now starting to address the elephant in the store: shoppers want a new, better and easier experience. Amazon isn’t a genius for working this out first – it just has the deepest pockets to try and make it work. However, as I said in an earlier editorial, many retailers can already start to offer functionality that while not quite as advanced as Amazon Go’s “just walk out” technology, can streamline the process and make the store experience more attractive.

Co-op is simply doing what many others already do – scan as you go round the store – the interesting bit is to leverage the mobile payment side, or rather the mobile wallet end to let them pay and leave.

It comes as shoppers embrace mobile wallets to pay for things in store. According to data from Worldpay, 59% of all-in store supermarket mobile transactions worldwide have been conducted via digital wallets such as Apple Pay [IRDX RAPL], Google Pay [IRDX RGOO]and Samsung Pay, demonstrating the rise of shop-on-a-go culture.

Co-op has niftily combined existing scanning technology with apps and mobile wallets to make a whole new shopping experience – and made itself look very much like it is leader of the pack when it comes to in-store UX.

And it couldn’t come too soon: shoppers are getting fed up with waiting in stores – especially when it comes to paying – when they can do it almost instantly online. In fact, research by Worldpay shows that 22% of women will wait more than five minutes compared to 15% of men, but more tellingly, 81% of all UK consumers will not wait more than 5 minutes to pay.

This alone needs to be addressed to start to arrest flagging footfall. Young people are even less likely to want to hang about and, if my kids are anything to go by, they don’t want to look up from their phones like ev-errrr so we need to tap into where they are and let them pay how they want to pay – which is through mobile. Amazon knows this. You all know this. The challenges is how to deliver it.

In many ways Amazon has bamboozled everyone by making it more complicated than perhaps it needs to be. Amazon Go Store is a nice thing to aim for, but right now we need to leverage the technology we already have to start to make the shopping experience in-store better.

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