Is Amazon Fresh Supermarket a Snoop Too Far?
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Shopping giants, Amazon has launched its first till-less grocery supermarket in the UK, the first of it's kind outside of the US. However, privacy campaigners have raised concerns about the tech behind Amazon's promise of a more 'frictionless' experience. How do you feel about having your every move closely monitored while doing your shop?
Cameras and sensors follow your every move
Depending on which side of the fence you are sitting on, the thought of having your every move watched and tracked while doing your shop is either a flagrant invasion of your privacy or a godsend from the techies.
How do you feel about Amazon's new till-less supermarket? Will you happily shop there or give the place a wide berth?
If Jeff Bezos was on the Christmas card list of other top supermarket CEO's, he may now be struck off, but this isn't about big-shot businessmen, it's about consumers. So what do you think about the direction we seem to be heading in?
The use of high-tech cameras and sensors in Amazon Fresh supermarkets is cause for concern among privacy campaigners because Amazon hasn't made clear how they will be using the data collected.
Amazon Fresh Till-less stores opening has been hailed as a 'watershed moment' by retail experts
Customers who enter an Amazon Fresh store, simply need to scan a smartphone app when entering and when they are done shopping, they will be automatically billed.
Ten years ago, doing away with cashiers would have raised all sorts of eyebrows, but they are well on the way to being replaced by self-checkout machines.
Now it seems, self-checkout robots may also become redundant now that Amazon has worked out how to bill us automatically for everything we pick up and pop in our basket, no need to scan a thing except your app on entry.
Ealing is the location for the first Amazon Fresh Supermarket in the UK
The timing of this opening couldn't be more perfect for the retail giant. Amidst the world-wide pandemic when we are all being told to keep our distance from others, till-less supermarkets sound like a great idea.
Moving towards robots to do the heavy lifting for humans is no new thing. All the major supermarkets such as Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and others have invested millions into self-checkout machines and seamless shopping experiences through the use of technology.
The big difference is, the best of our traditional supermarkets have to offer is enabling the consumer to scan each and every item we would like to purchase and then pay at a self-checkout till.
With Amazon Fresh, all you do is scan yourself into the store and anything you pick up and leave the shop with, is billed to your Amazon account.
How do I get my Scan code to shop at Amazon Fresh?
It's very easy to get a scan code to enter an Amazon Fresh supermarket. Simply load up your Amazon app on your smartphone and then click on the basket icon and then hit the 'Fresh Code' link at the top of the page. Then just scan on entry and shop as you wish.
Amazon Fresh Privacy Concerns
So how does Amazon Fresh manage to work out exactly what you have bought, if you haven't had to scan any items? They employ the use of hundreds of cameras and depth-sensors, combined with super-high-tech software which uses artificial intelligence techniques.
The personal data footprint that Amazon will gain is huge. If you thought Nectar cards are an invasion of your personal privacy, they don't come close to the information that Amazon will have on their shoppers.
Amazon says that facial recognition is not being used by their high-tech cameras, so no worries there.
Are till-less Supermarkets here to stay?
There is little doubt that Amazon will make a huge impact on the future of supermarkets, both here in the UK and all over the world. What isn't clear is how fast things will progress and will it actually be Amazon leading the charge or will it be the major, established supermarkets adopting the same technology to deliver the so called 'Seamless Shopping Experience'.
Certainly, the idea of having bricks and mortar businesses is very appealing to Amazon, having already conquered the virtual retail world.
On the flip-side, it's not so easy to open up new supermarkets in the real world as it is to expand their online services. There is a finite amount of land and locations for supermarkets on our high street and they are already accounted for.
The future will be interesting and it seems we the consumer may not really have a say in the direction of travel, because let's face it - we need to eat so we will have to shop, however it comes.