Amazon is bringing its cashless store concept, Amazon Go, to the U.K., and has secured retail space in London to do so, according to reports.
The move would be the company’s first expansion of the concept outside of the U.S., where it has 10 of the grab-and-go stores. It’s not known how many sites were picked for the U.K. stores, but selling physical food is a primary focus of the company as it continues to grow its global footprint for the service.
Amazon Go stores do not have cashiers; they have sensors and cameras, and customers are automatically charged for goods when they leave.
Bernstein analyst Bruno Monteyne told Reuters that the stores would fit with the country’s convenience food market, as they would cater to people who work in in the area and are looking for “on the go food,” including kits to make meals and other standard grocery items.
However, there is plenty of competition in the grocery segment in the U.K., with companies like Eat, Marks & Spencer and Pret-A-Manger, along with grocery stores Tesco and Sainsbury’s.
“This particular convenience segment seems an even bigger challenge than the segments Amazon has targeted for the last 10 years with limited success,” Monteyne said.
Amazon has less than 1 percent of the grocery market share in the U.K., despite selling food in the country through its Amazon Pantry, Amazon Prime Now and Amazon Fresh endeavors.
Reuters, citing public records and a person familiar with the strategy, reported that Amazon was looking at U.S. airports as new locations for Amazon Go. “The lead for Amazon Go requested a meeting,” said a June 27 email from a technology adviser who supports Los Angeles International to a concessions official. “Interested?” “Yes. Thanks!” the concessions official replied. Meanwhile, Reuters reported that an account manager at Amazon’s cloud unit requested a meeting with San Jose International Airport, noting that Amazon Go, among other topics, could be discussed.
The report noted that after the June meeting with Los Angeles International in which Amazon Go was discussed, an airport IT manager wrote: “I am looking forward to moving forward with the Amazon Go technology at the airport.”