The announcement of Amazon’s newest convenience store concept, Amazon Go, certainly generated buzz in December, grabbing the attention of shoppers and retailers in the midst of the always hectic holiday shopping season. Though the dust has settled, Amazon’s latest experiment in Seattle remains a mystery to non-Amazon employees anxiously awaiting Amazon Go’s public opening. Lucky for us, Kantar Retail’s own Tim Campbell was able to capture photos of Amazon Go during his recent trip to the city. While it is still not open to the public, we were able to glean three key learnings from his Amazon Go drive-by:

Prepared Foods Take Center Stage

Amazon Go’s design showcases the breadth of its prepared food, with large glass windows along the front entrance providing shoppers with a transparent view into its working kitchen (Figure 1). While convenience is inherent in Amazon Go’s technology sophistication, the “grab and go” nature of this model is also evident in its layout, with meal selections neatly organized by category right when you walk into the store (Figure 1). The overall minimalistic aesthetic – with wood elements, modern graphics, and black accents – also reflects Amazon Go’s focus on high-quality, fresh foods. In addition, a small sit-down dining area positions Amazon Go as not only a convenience store, but also as a fast-casual gathering space (Figure 1). 

Figure 1.

Assortment Curated to Small Box Format

At 1,800 square feet, Amazon Go’s first iteration is a clearly a limited assortment environment, much like more traditional convenience stores. Messaging emphasizes the availability of fresh breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack options as well as grocery essentials (Figure 2). Meal kits further elevate the ease that Amazon Go allows, while driving traffic to the store with unique offerings.

Figure 2.

Employees Work alongside Technology

The presence of store associates is perhaps a surprise, as Amazon Go was criticized for eliminating jobs. However, Amazon Go makes it clear that it is actively hiring, likely to oversee adoption of this new technology and support food preparation (Figure 3). It is important to note the shift in labor to services that “Just Walk Out” enables, as Amazon Go dedicates greater headcount to its kitchen operations. In doing so, Amazon can enhance the overall Amazon Go experience by delivering on its fresh food promise and establishing credibility in this category.    

Figure 3.

Ultimately, Amazon Go underscores Amazon’s recognition of brick-and-mortar’s role in grocery. To differentiate the model and expand grocery reach, Amazon is leveraging its technology expertise to evolve the convenience proposition of its stores. Check back on KRIQ for further coverage as we continue to track Amazon Go’s development.  

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