It was quite the morning in the heart of downtown Chicago—cold, crowded and with an endless supply of options to quench my thirst. As the trains were running a bit late, I only had a few minutes to spare before my first meeting of the morning.
I decided to stop in at the new Amazon Go store that is conveniently located within the Ogilvie Train Station. I scanned in, walked all the way to the back of the store, grabbed a 33.8 fl oz. Sparkling Smart Water, and simply walked out. Seems pretty simple … but what I didn’t tell you is that I was in and out of the store in 15 seconds.
Now this is where things get interesting. The next morning, I wanted to see how long the exact same transaction took at a well-known convenience store/pharmacy. I pulled out my stopwatch and got myself prepared to move as swiftly as I could. I made it all the way to the back of the store, searched through an ocean of options, unfortunately couldn’t find my beverage of choice, settled on the regular Smart Water, and walked to the checkout line. Stood in line for 30 seconds and then headed over to the self-checkout lane. Scanned my item, answered a bunch of questions (e.g. type of payment, loyalty member Y/N, etc.) and then was on my way. The time? Three minutes and 2 seconds.
Amazon Go has changed the convenience experience forever, and here’s why:
- Faster than fast: It is absolutely incredible that my experience through Amazon Go was over 2.5 minutes faster than the typical convenience store. Now this is what I call convenience. Amazon Go actually tracks your speed and reports back to you at the end of the transaction—making this a key part of their value proposition to consumers. There is no hassle with pulling out your credit card or trying to navigate the self-checkout lane.
- Products I want: Amazon Go has a carefully curated product assortment that aligns to the demographic of their consumers. Amazon Go had the product I wanted and presented the product to me in a refrigerated display with no doors to deal with. I simply grabbed it off the shelf and headed to the front.
- No lines or waiting: There are NO lines at Amazon Go—it’s that simple. I have had to wait upwards of 5 minutes in line at my local convenience store depending on the time I go. With Amazon Go, you simply walk out with the products that you selected—it’s that easy. In my comparison example, lines could have made my purchase of a bottle of water upwards of 5 minutes.
- Best price in town: One of the most shocking components of my experience was around the price I paid for my water. At Amazon Go, my 33.8 fl oz. Sparkling Smart Water cost $1.75 (including tax). For comparison, Smart Water (not Sparkling) cost $2.60 at the convenience store. This is also game-changing … not only am I able to get the product I want in the most convenient way, I am able to get the product at an extremely reasonable cost.
- Every consumer is known walking through the door: Contrary to most fuel and convenience stores, Amazon Go knows who each of their consumers are as you must have an Amazon account before walking into the store. No more guessing what consumers want and how often they are coming back—it is all right there for Amazon to make better future decisions in service of their consumers.
And now a brief note to my colleagues in the fuels and convenience retail industry:
Tsunamis, often initiated by an earthquake, have been known to cause extreme destruction for anything that are in their paths. One of the more deceiving elements of a tsunami is that just before it makes landfall, the water begins to recede exposing the sea floor and creating a sight for unassuming spectators. In my opinion, this is the point where our industry is at. The earthquake has already happened, and the water is starting to recede. As an industry, there are many companies watching from the shore quite interested in the receding water line. There are some that are retreating and moving as far away from the shore as possible. And there are others that are building their surf boards, as they can’t wait to ride the best wave of their lives.
Is your organization equipped to ride the wave of convenience?
- 2018 Fuel Retail Research: Accelerate the customer journey
- 3 ways to reinvent the fuel station experience
- Who is the retail fuels consumer of the future?
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- What are the key technologies impacting fuels retailers?
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