104146970-Screen_Shot_2016-12-05_at_9.58.36_AM.600x400You’re unlikely to get confused between online retail and real-world shopping.

One involves elbowing your way around the High Street in howling winds and lashing rain before queuing for a solid week behind some old biddy who’s carefully coppering up. The other involves putting your feet up and buying from anywhere in the world while drinking lustily from a large glass of port.

However, Amazon’s latest plan seems to blur the edges a little bit. The retail giant seems to want to fuse online and in-store, like a surreal cut-and-shut retail job.

May we introduce Amazon Go. This is an 1,800-square-foot store in Seattle. The difference from most stores is that there are no queues or tills, and no need to wobble home with your gigantic purchases clinging to your roof-rack with a single elastic band.

Eh? Let us explain. You pop along (assuming you’re in the vicinity of Seattle) with your Amazon Go app, choose the stuff you’d like, then leave with your items billed to your Amazon.com account. You don’t even have to scan items individually.

The store, opening early next year, is offering a long-required solution for those millions of customers who need to physically see (or try on) an item before buying it for the best price online. Or vice versa.

Says Lisa Falzone, CEO of Revel Systems, a point-of-sales company that helps retailers with inventory and analytics, “You see Amazon opening up bricks-and-mortar shops. You see bricks-and-mortars going online. It’s all becoming one.”

Revel’s recently published research revealed that 64% of consumers think physical retailers should have a strong online presence, and 93% say they research items online before buying at a real store.

The survey also revealed that stores should up their technological game. Nearly half wanted retailers ­– online or real life – to deliver and also offer checkout using Apple Pay or Samsung Pay.

Amazon has a reputation as being at the forefront of retail trends, so it could be worthwhile for online-only retailers to start talking to Bob the Builder if they want to maintain their edge.

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Author Chris Painter

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