Mere weeks after publishing his 2017 Food Retail Outlook post for Forbes, Neil Stern’s predication had already come true. His statement that “Amazon will continue its multi-pronged attack on food retail” came to fruition with the announcement of Amazon Go – the futuristic no-checkout grocer store that has opened for testing in downtown Seattle.
Following the announcement, many have voiced concerns about automation taking away entry level jobs. There are other concerns too – does this open the door for individualized or dynamic pricing – which harkens back to Amazon’s own pricing controversies. What does it mean for demographic groups that do not own or cannot afford smart phones? Speaking of social consequences – following the advent of self-checkout, is this another step towards a world where you can get by without any sort of personal human interaction?
While there is no doubt that 2017 will see Amazon continue to innovate and disrupt food retail, it remains to be seen whether Amazon Go will be a paradigm shift for the industry.