Amazon Opens First Contact-Free Grocery Store in the UK as Company Looks to Expand Physical Presence

By Thomas Price Thursday, March 4, 2021

While many businesses are focusing more heavily on online sales as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to shift economic trends, the largest online retail company, Amazon, is opening up new physical locations. The company recently opened up its very first physical store in the United Kingdom (UK) in the form of a contact-free grocery store. While this may be the first, the business has plans to ensure that it will not be the last, with hopes to continue to add storefronts across the nation.

Amazon Fresh Pickup storefront in Seattle.

Amazon’s Contact-Free Grocery Store

The grocery store opened in London is not the first contact-free location launched by the business. In fact, the company already operates 26 different grocery stores in the United States (US) that seamlessly work without the need for a cashier. The newest Amazon Fresh store will follow a similar business operating model as its US counterparts, using a QR code scanner to check customers in through their smartphones.

From there, a series of cameras and weight sensors automatically detect when a customer picks up or puts back an item. Next, the customer’s linked credit card is charged without the need to interact with any employee. A receipt is then sent to the customer’s email, and the entire transaction is over.

The lack of any interaction between the consumer and the employee has become a particularly large selling point for the company and its grocery store as the COVID-19 pandemic has put significant emphasis on the need for social distancing in public places of business or gathering.

This particular grocery store location for the company will be 2,500 square feet, smaller than most US stores, and will feature a counter for picking up and returning online orders. The grocery store location will sell prepared meals, food products, and select Amazon devices. According to the company, this first location in London is a part of a larger wave of new physical stores that are planned in the city.

Introduction of New Amazon Brand

The creation of the new Amazon Fresh store in London was also launched alongside the new private UK food brand, by Amazon, that the business will partially stock the shelves with. While details as to what specific products will be offered by the new brand are not available, the expectation is that the new business venture will help the company begin to corner a larger market share into the food and produce industry.

The launch by Amazon could be a major driving force behind the latest push for more physical locations from the business as the high volume and larger margins of grocery purchases look particularly appealing to the company.

About the Author


Headshot of Thomas Price

Tom Price is a writer focusing on entertainment and sports features. He has a degree from NYU in English with a minor in Creative Writing. He has been previously published for Washington Square News, Dignitas, CBR, and Numbers on the Boards.

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