Now that the hype of the Amazon's press release of laborless stores has slowed, time for a few thoughts:
- Amazon uses press releases, videos and 60 Minutes to fuel the fire that Amazon is focused on innovation and frictionless/thoughtless commerce
- Amazon stores, drones, robot distribution centers and laborless stores are all incredibly exciting and impressive. Before any small release, long periods of testing and refining are needed.
- Any large scale release of laborless stores and drones is years away. Small tests will be available in certain markets like the Pacific Northwest, but rolling out hundreds of stores can take many years.
- This should be a "call to arms" to any store based retailer. Amazon is explicitly calling your attention to their planned model. Nothing new from the "virtual store" many have shown but Amazon seems to be the first to actually put one together.
- Amazon knows Grocery and consumables is where the lion's share of customer spend is and that is their #1 focus area. Amazon's Prime Pantry and Amazon Fresh offers via delivery will continue to be their focus over the next few years as they test and learn various store models.
Bottom line: The outlook remains rosy but realize that Amazon Go stores are years away from being in your neighborhood.