Amazon opened its doors to the first ever cashier-less grocery store in Seattle, Washington, ushering in a decidedly new era in customer experience. The store, Amazon Go, boasts a streamlined approach to the shopping experience, allowing the customer to grab items and walk out of the store without having to stand in a line.
But what does Amazon Go mean for the customer experience?
Well, according to Amazon, the store uses a combination of “computer vision, deep learning algorithms and sensor fusion” to create a seamless experience for customers. The concept of walking into a store and out again without any interaction with employees or payments might sound strange – but it’s designed to make shopping as hassle-free as possible.
From the success of companies like Uber and Airbnb, it is obvious that customers crave this kind of hands-off approach. Likewise, they also favour utility and practicality over anything else.
With brands that offer a value proposition based on ease and simplicity dominating their fields, Amazon Go aims to provide customers exactly that – without shouting about it.
So, in fact, by keeping track of the customer’s every move, Amazon Go will enable the brand to deliver more data-driven marketing than ever before. As customers, we’re used to waiving the right to privacy online, with the knowledge that brands draw on our browsing and buying behaviour to deliver targeted messages. In fact, this is now an expectation, with consumers desiring greater personalisation for an improved service. Think Spotify’s curated playlists or Netflix’s movie recommendations.
For the first time ever, however, Amazon Go means consumers will waive their right to privacy while shopping in person. From what we put back on the shelf to the route we take while walking around the store – this information is all up for grabs.
Of course, retail stores have been attempting to track customers for a while, but past examples show that it’s not always accepted. US retailer Nordstrom was previously forced to stop using WiFi to monitor movement in physical stores due to an uproar from customers.
For Amazon Go, clever targeting executed in a non-intrusive way is the aim, but the question remains if customers are ready and willing to accept it.
The Amazon Go experience also does not simply end in-store. Data could be used to serve customers even more targeted offers and personalised recommendations on-site. This connection between the online and offline world is evidently another reason behind the e-commerce brand’s foray into retail.
After all, a physical experience is often a much better way to create a human connection with customers – especially for a brand like Amazon, which doesn’t exactly offer the most emotionally engaging experience online.
With a bricks-and-mortar store, it has the opportunity to break down customer expectations – namely that Amazon offers a single type of service – and reveal a completely new way of interacting with the brand.
This approach is a way of predicting behaviours of consumers, however, the demise of human interaction makes it difficult to gain a full 360 view of the customer with no real verbatim feedback. The Amazon go approach is a clever way to predict consumer behaviours and personalise targeted communications but verbatim feedback, both online and in-store, offers a rich insight and allows quick follow up action.