Amazon is known to have disrupted numerous industries, starting with books way back in 1994. The latest vertical to feel the squeeze is retail, and specifically the grocery industry. This has become even more pressing given reports of Amazon planning 3,000 new Amazon Go stores by 2021.
What does this mean for the future of the grocery industry? Will others be able to compete?
Current State Of The Grocery Industry
The grocery industry is extremely competitive right now, with some of the largest players trying to outmaneuver one another in order to gain the lion’s share of the massive almost $1 trillion grocery market – and that’s just the US.
The battleground is multi-channel, as all the big guns are investing huge sums into improving shoppers’ experience, be it via digital platforms, better delivery options, or the increased integration of technologies into the shopping experience. With the average American visiting the supermarket 1.6 times per week on average, leveraging the experience factor can have a tremendous impact on the bottom line.
After Amazon bought Whole Foods in August 2017, it has become clear that the future of the grocery industry is going to depend on retailers offering the best experience – with Amazon currently in the lead.
Amazon Is Going Big
One of the key ways Amazon seeks to cement its leadership position and keep rivals at bay is through its Go Concept Store. Amazon Go is a revolutionary kind of store, with no checkout required. You scan an app upon entering one of these stores, grab the products you want, and just walk out. There are no lines or frustrating checkout processes.
The Amazon Go store uses technologies such as computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning to detect when products are taken from or returned to shelves.
It was recently reported that Amazon is considering the opening of 3,000 Amazon Go stores across the US in the next few years, sending shockwaves through the grocery industry and sending the share prices of rivals tumbling.
How can rivals compete with an experience such as this – especially given Amazon’s technological head-start?
How The Industry Can Respond
The obvious answer to “How can the industry respond and keep up?” is through dramatic improvements in the experience of shoppers. This can take place across any number of touchpoints, from store design to staff training.
There is also further good news. Grocery retailers can close the technology gap with Amazon, by turning their existing stores into smart “Amazon Go”-type stores. Trigo Vision enables retailers to do just that. They supply all the tech, and any and all “traditional” retailers can start offering this seamless shopping experience immediately.
The Industry Fights Back
Despite being seen as a declaration of war on the industry by Amazon, this development has been seen by some grocery retailers as a massive opportunity to be among the first to flaunt this new technology and new experience for their shoppers.