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03/04/2021

Amazon opens its first brick-and-mortar store outside the U.S.

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Photo by Amazon

Amazon has brought its cashierless store format across the pond.

The e-commerce  giant on March 4 opened its first physical store outside of the U.S,  in the Ealing section of London. The  checkout-free convenience/grocery store, called Amazon Fresh, uses the same "Just Walk Out" technology as Amazon Go stores in the U.S. 

According to The Verge, the 2,500-sq.-ft. London store offers a mix of grocery products and fresh meals, including an assortment of goods carrying the “by Amazon” private label the company is launching in the U.K. to coincide with the opening of Amazon Fresh there. 

Introduced in Amazon’s hometown of Seattle in 2018, the “Amazon Go” store model being used in the U.K. by Amazon Fresh eliminates the need for human cashiers, or cash payments. Cameras equipped with computer vision and facial recognition technology, as well as automatic sensors, keep track of the items customers take from shelves. When a shopper is ready to check out, they automatically pay with a registered credit or debit card inside the Amazon Go mobile app.

In the U.S., Amazon operates 26 Amazon Go convenience stores (two are temporarily closed) and two stores in the Amazon Go grocery format, introduced in Seattle in February 2020. The U.K. Amazon Fresh banner is distinct from the rapidly-growing chain of Amazon Fresh high-tech grocery stores the retailer operates in the U.S., featuring a self-checkout option with smart shopping carts.