Amazon and the

History of Shopping



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whole order (3) come at a cost
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Commercial: “What would shopping look like if you could walk in a store, grab what you want, and just go?”

And starting today in Seattle, you can.

Customer One: “I walked out with these two things in a matter of thirty seconds.”

It’s the first Amazon Go Store. The technology uses your smartphone, along with cameras and electronic sensors to detect what you pick up.

Customer Two: “It’s really nice. It skips a lot of time and everything.”

It creates a digital bill and charges your credit card when you walk out.

No cashiers. No checkout lines.

Customer Three: “It’s definitely fun to walk out without any talking to anybody.”

The online retail giant says there are no immediate plans to open more automated stores, but it’s clear Amazon wants in on the grocery business.

Alex Arifuzzaman, Retail Market Analyst at Interstratics Consultants Inc: “Amazon realizes that just being a pure online merchant is not enough: They have to have a physical presence, so I think that’s part of the thinking behind Whole Foods.

The company spent nearly $17 billion purchasing Whole Foods in August, pledging to drop prices to help drive sales. And in the US offering the Whole Foods products for delivery has led to a spike in online orders.

Alex Arifuzzaman, Retail Market Analyst at Interstratics Consultants Inc: “The existing retailers are not just going to sit back and let Amazon take away their market share. They’re going to fight back; so it’s going to be highly competitive, which might be good for the consumers.”

But efficiency could lead to a very different experience when some Toronto shoppers aren’t exactly ready for.

Customer Four: “They’ve been successful with all of their other products, so I’m sure they’ll make a dent in that, but I also want to support my local grocery stores and supermarkets.”

Customer Five: “Who here doesn’t like convenience? I mean there’s that whole thing about jobs and taking away jobs.”

Convenience will come at a cost, as leaders in tech push the boundaries of nearly every industry. And even a simple trip to the grocery store may be unrecognizable in the future.

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Not lining up at the checkout stand is a big shift, but consider how much grocery shopping has changed over the past century.

In 1916 it was the Piggly Wiggly in Memphis that revolutionized the grocery store. For the first time, customers were allowed to browse the shelves instead of giving a clerk behind the counter their order.

Fast forward to the mid-70s. The end of price tag. Remember those? Replaced by the barcode. Cashiers scanned items making checkout a whole lot faster.

Two decades later, some stores expected us to do the scanning, using self-checkout machines, cutting back on cashiers, but not necessarily increasing efficiency.

Customer Six: “I like doing things myself — when it works.”

So where do we go from here?

Well, what’s old may be new again: how about ordering your groceries through an app, letting a clerk round them up for pickup — sort of what grocery shopping was like before the Piggly Wiggly.

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1. The Amazon Go Store has opened nationwide across America. True or false? Do they plan on opening more stores in the near future?

2. How do customers shop in the Amazon Go Store?

3. Do the customers feel nervous and apprehensive about shopping in the Amazon Go Store?

4. Amazon has purchased a traditional, brick-and-mortar shop. Is this right or wrong? Why did it make the purchase?

5. Will other retailers resign themselves to fate? Will they do nothing and continue their old ways?

6. Are all customers entirely enthusiastic, happy and optimistic about automated shopping?

7. Piggly Wiggly was a trendsetter. Is this correct or incorrect? What did they do?

8. What happened in the 1970s?

9. Will shopping be completely different from the old days?


A. How do you and your friends shop? Has it been changing?

B. What do you and others think about the Amazon Go, automated checkout? Would you prefer shopping there?

C. What might happen in the future?

D. Are there any disadvantages to automated checkouts?

E. What should those made redundant do?


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