Despite difficulties related to the pandemic, the retail real estate market continues to surprise us with new formats. One of the main events of the street retail this month was the opening of Amazon Fresh offline store without counters. It is located in Ealing (Western London) and is the first store of this kind outside the US!
How does it work? To buy something, you need to download and install the Amazon app on your phone. When entering the store, buyers scan a QR code from the app and take the items from shelves as usual. Hundreds of cameras and sensors monitor what items were taken and by whom. After that, you can go home and the receipt and invoice will appear in your app while your bank card will be billed automatically.
Although other retail chains in the UK also implement new technologies that allow consumers to buy without staff’s help, Amazon’s approach looks more convenient and attractive. Buyers don’t need to scan every item anymore. This technology was first introduced in the USA in similar Amazon Go stores that opened in 2018. By 2021 the system became more advanced and perfectly process a larger number of people and recognises what is inside the basket even if you return some items to the shelf.
Retail real estate formats constantly change. Before, the major part of London’s street-retail was occupied by travel agencies. With travel industry changing, these companies gradually disappeared from the streets. Pandemic significantly shook the whole street retail market. Even cafes that overflew pedestrian-only streets were tight shut. Not all of them will open again after restrictions will have been lifted. Food chains and convenience shops still hold their positions and traditionally are the most reliable and welcomed investments projects. The fact that such a large contributor as Amazon Fresh is entering the market, is good news for all street retail property owners.
Published 7 April 2021
Deal of the month: commercial property in Central London