Amazon.com will open AmazonGo on Monday, its automated grocery shop in Seattle. Amazon’s “Just Walk Out” technology uses deep learning algorithms, sensor fusion and computer vision to replace cashiers. This technology is similar to the ones used in autonomous driving. The process works as follows: When they enter the store, consumers scan their Amazon Go app. They simply pick up what they need and walk out. The Just Walk Out technology on the backend will detect which products were taken from shelves and track them in a virtual shopping cart. After customers have finished shopping, and left the store, Amazon will send them a receipt and charge their Amazon account. The store, which measures 1,800 square feet, is located on Amazon’s Seattle campus. It was originally opened in late 2016 and was expected to open to the public in early 2017. It is currently in beta for Amazon employees. Amazon is currently testing the concept in a limited capacity and does not plan to make the technology available to Whole Foods.
Total Retail’s View: Although it took a while longer than expected, Amazon continues to pursue its vision of a cashier-free store. Amazon Go was created by the online giant after envisioning a seamless shopping experience that would have no checkout lines. It could also push the boundaries of machine learning and computer vision to create a store where customers can simply pick up what they need and then go. But will the store succeed? That’s debatable. As they monitor the challenges Amazon Go may face, retail analysts remain on the fence.
- Does the technology work? Amazon Go was initially scheduled to open in early 2017 but was delayed due to the complexity and delays in the technology.
- Will consumers actually “buy it?” Experts believe the high-tech approach to grocery stores is the greatest breakthrough since barcodes. But will customers be able to accept an omnichannel, highly-technologically advanced retail experience?
- Is Amazon to blame for the loss of cashier jobs? The Department of Labor reports that more Americans than 3.5million had cashier jobs in May 2016. Nearly 900,000. of these jobs were in grocery shops. Amazon Go stores eliminate the need for cashiers and could make thousands of jobs redundant. Amazon claims it will have to hire people to work at Amazon Go stores. This is a team of associates who prepare ingredients, prepare items, greet customers, and stock shelves.
Amazon Go will live up to its early promises of revolutionizing grocery shopping if it succeeds. It’s revolutionary to be able to simply walk into a grocery store and grab whatever you need and then walk out. It’s my definition of disruption. In the same vein as Netflix replacing Blockbuster or Uber replacing taxis, it’s also the definition.
Supporting the Retail Store: Be the Superhero of Your District and Regional Managers
Retail industry workers know that life can be hectic and chaotic for district and regional managers. They are responsible for ensuring that all operational plans and directives are executed in a timely and accurate manner across all stores. They are responsible for overseeing the daily and weekly tasks and communications store-level associates must be aware of and execute. Effective communication strategies must include accountability and compliance. You can’t manage what isn’t measured!
It can be difficult to manage across large geographical areas. Enhanced communication is a way to overcome this. It leads to accountability and compliance. Enhanced communication makes information more accessible and reduces confusion. It will no longer be acceptable to say “I didn’t see it” as an excuse. If you want to be a “superhero” in your region and for your managers, then these best practices will help you make your store a more centralized “one-stop” shop for all operational communication.
Without proper execution, success is impossible
Our experience shows that stores that fail to follow the proper execution of markdowns and floor sets, as well as inventory, are losing significant revenue each year. This type of financial loss is what keeps your regional and district managers awake at night. Your teams will have the tools to help them focus on the stores that are putting a halt to sales because they are not executing these important projects. This will increase your bottom line, and help ensure that your stores run smoothly and meet all compliance requirements.
Keep Watch: 360-Degree Visibility
Regional and district managers cannot be everywhere at the same time. A “snapshot view”, which shows the execution of stores, can help managers be more productive and focused during store visits. By allowing district and regional managers to see the status of their stores before they visit, they will be able to make more visits per day. This visibility gives managers a more complete view of their stores’ compliance and allows them to solve any problems that may arise over time.
Productivity makes the world go round
Retailers who are smart know that the best company to run is one that runs efficiently, effectively, and sustainably. This is not something you can do quickly! It is essential to be able to quickly adapt to new situations and learn quickly in order to run a successful store. This will make you stand out from the rest. All employees at all levels of management should communicate easily and seamlessly to keep them motivated and informed. This will also help them work more closely with the leadership team to offer a consistent, positive experience for customers. Productive associates are more likely to spend time with customers and decrease the staff/customer ratio. This will result in increased conversion rates for your stores. Happy associates are more productive, which results in lower turnover costs.
Regional and district managers should be able to communicate with store-level associates effectively and quickly. This will allow them to resolve issues quickly and efficiently and give associates a sense of belonging. As an organization grows, these managers have an increasing leadership role. It’s important for them to communicate better. This will allow them to spend more time on customer service and store management.
As we all know, business results are dependent on the internal culture. Regional and district managers will be able to communicate better across their stores and have greater visibility into compliance and accountability. This will allow them more time to improve the associate culture in the store and increase profits.