Amazon Fresh opens 2 cashless stores in 2 of London’s most exclusive areas
NLINE retail giant Amazon continues its march through the capital’s shopping streets with the opening of two more cashless grocery stores in Islington and Richmond.
The new Amazon Fresh outlets join the US giant’s eight existing London outlets, the first of which opened in Ealing in March.
The proliferation rate is accelerating with the most recent previous addition – a city-focused branch in High Holborn – opening last week.
The first of the new stores is in the Mall by Angel station, at the busier end of Upper Street.
The other is in leafy Richmond, named the UK’s second happiest borough last week, where locals were happy to meet the newcomer.
Their Main Street took a hit in the pandemic with a series of units closed leaving Main Street George Street like a row of boxer’s teeth.
This includes the House of Fraser flagship department store, once a major draw to the neighborhood’s middle classes and now transformed into an upscale shopping and office complex.
Amazon employees wearing lime green pom-pom hats handed out lime bananas in the compound next to the main train tracks and subway station to lure passers-by into a building that was, until recently, a branch of Foxtons.
Hidden assistants at the door help the less tech-savvy download the right app (“this is the US app .. It doesn’t work here”, could be played on repeat) before a barcode-style train ticket does not see the glass barriers open.
Face masks are requested before admission following the reintroduction of rules to block the spread of the latest variant of Covid-19.
Once inside, it’s a simple matter of grab and go.
The prices and range offered are comparable to those of nearby Tesco and M&S metro branches. If the store is full of CCTV and motion tracking sensors, the average shopper probably won’t notice.
Amazon bosses have expressed confidence that their all-seeing tracking technology – which tracks shoppers’ every move as they pick up items and put them in pockets and bags before they leave – is theft-proof on the shelf.
An experimental visit finally confirms this. Despite an “accidental” change to the face mask and mantle in the middle of the store, the receipt emailed a few hours later was clinically accurate.
Reports suggest that Amazon intends to open around 200 such stores across the UK over the next two years.
Retail guru Nick Bubb, displaying a local’s eye for the South West London shopping hierarchy, comments: “I suspect the Amazon Fresh store in Richmond, next to the train station, will do. better than the one near Waitrose in East Sheen.
Although it is a base for eBay, Paypal, Graze and notonthehighstreet.com, Richmond is not traditionally seen as a state-of-the-art borough.
If people here can adapt to this sophisticated new way of shopping, probably anywhere can.