First till-free Amazon Fresh store opens in the UK

Amazon Go
(Image credit: Amazon)

High-street shopping as we know it might be about to change for good after the opening of Amazon's new store in London.

The ecommerce giant has unveiled its first till-free Amazon Fresh store in Ealing in West London, opening up a 2,500 square feet shop to customers from today, offering a wide selection of food and drink products, including the new "by Amazon" brand.

Employing Amazon’s ‘Just Walk Out’ technology, all customers need to do in order to make purchases is scan the Amazon app at the gate and do their shopping. Items are added to a virtual cart, bypassing the checkout as there is no traditional point of sale (POS) terminal. 

Any items purchased are billed to the customer’s Amazon account, with a receipt of the transaction being emailed to them, getting rid of the need for a paper receipt altogether. The experience aims to offer convenience but also cuts down on physical contact, particularly at bottlenecks like the checkout, POS terminal and bagging areas.

Grab and go

Amazon says that the new store, "will offer customers everything they’d want from their local neighbourhood grocery store with an experience that allows shoppers to simply take what they want and just walk out."

While the opening will be the first of its kind in the UK, Amazon has been trialling the system since 2016, opening its first touch-free store in 2018, with over 25 examples across the US. If the pilot is successful it's rumoured that the online shopping giant could eventually open up to 30 new cashier-less shops on UK soil.

Alongside its hugely diverse e-commerce retail selection Amazon is said to be keen on boosting its fortunes in the area of UK grocery delivery. Research by Mintel has found this is currently just 3%.

However, with demand for both home shopping and contactless payment methods increasing, particularly in light of the coronavirus pandemic, the internet retailer could boost this dramatically alongside its Amazon Go venture.

Consumers can already download the Amazon Go App, which is already available for Apple and Android devices in the UK, even if they can't actually visit a physical Amazon Go store just yet.

Rob Clymo

Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital he has run the Innovation channel during a few years at Microsoft as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working he's usually out and about on one of numerous e-bikes in his collection.