Technology is constantly expanding the potential for delivering convenience. Two newer concepts—Amazon’s cashierless Amazon Go and Tesla’s supersized Supercharger stations—are using it to challenge the veritable definition of a convenience retailer.
The 1,800-square-foot Amazon Go, which debuted in January in Seattle, allows anyone with the Amazon Go smartphone app tied to a credit or debit card to purchase products in-store. Patrons use a QR code on their smartphone to enter; to purchase an item, shoppers simply grab it and leave. Cameras and sensors track customer and item movement. Once a customer leaves the store, their account is charged for the purchase. Seattle-based Amazon plans to build Amazon Go locations next in San Francisco and Chicago.
In November 2017, electric-vehicle maker Tesla built the first of its supersized, 40-stall Supercharger stations in Kettleman City and Baker, Calif. These stations serve as members-only lounges so Tesla drivers traveling out west can comfortably wait while their vehicles charge. The stations have food and beverage setups, as well as a children’s play wall, a pet-relief area and outdoor space.
One could argue that both Amazon and Tesla, through these concepts, meet the definition of a convenience retailer—and even an independent c-store retailer. How might they disrupt the indie landscape as we know it?
Expansion of Amazon Go will bring the retail concept to San Francisco and Chicago.
Photograph from iStock