Amazon has revealed a brand new bricks-and-mortar retail concept, Amazon Go. Actually, far more than a concept, they’ve made it reality – with a store in Seattle currently in Beta, and due to open to the public early in 2017.

Amazon Go promises a store without checkout queues, instead using sensors to track and charge purchases. Shoppers can just walk in, pick up their groceries and walk out.

It’s a major disruption to a routine that can be a real hassle.  The speed and ease of this ‘grab and go’ approach to retail could overcome current pain points.  Plus current attempts at ‘self checkout’ haven’t been entirely stress-free – here’s one that truly is.

Immediacy is in Amazon’s DNA.  From ‘One Click’ checkout to Amazon Dash, each innovation is about making things easier and faster.  Amazon Go feels like a natural addition.

But at what cost?  The concept greatly reduces the overheads associated with physical stores.  Amazon Go eliminates cash handling and shoplifting, but also removes staff from the equation.  If you consider the inevitability too of automating restocking – something already commonplace in fulfilment centres – these essentially become unstaffed stores.  Retailers have long struggled to find ways to profit from grocery home delivery, so Amazon’s investment in this area should probably be unsurprising.

For right or wrong, we think this will be a defining moment in grocery retail.