Open for business! The store with no tills

Shopaholics: The average UK shopper spends £3,370 online each year © Getty

Is going shopping better than ordering online? Shoppers at a new Amazon store in London can walk around, pick up what they would like to buy and leave – all without going to a till.

What’s happening

The doors of the shop open at 7am. Soon, customers start walking in. They browse, pick up lunch, buy flowers for Mum. Then, when they have everything they need, they walk out again.

But these people are not shoplifting. They are buying their items automatically. Welcome to the shop with no tills.

Find out more

Amazon has opened its first shop in the UK. Unlike regular stores, it has no checkout counters. Shoppers can collect all they need and leave without having to queue up to pay.

Customers have to download an app before they come in. Then, hundreds of cameras track them as they walk around the store. Items on shelves are monitored using sensors running on AI.

Computers work out what each person has picked up and adds it to their bill. This is added automatically to their receipt as they walk out again.

The technology was first used in Amazon Go stores in the US. Not everyone likes it. They say that online shopping is easier and quicker.

But fans say we can never fully replace real shops.

Is going shopping better than ordering online?

Some say…

No. Online shopping is popular for a reason. It is much easier. There are no queues or busy shops. Items do not run out as quickly as they do in small shops. You can compare lots of items to see which is the best. You don’t get distracted or waste time browsing. And with the internet, you can order from shops far away from where you live.

Others think…

Yes! Spending your afternoon in shops is much better than ordering online. You can try on clothes and test out toys. You can go to a bookshop and have a look through all the new books. And shopping is not just about buying things. You can meet up with friends, have lunch out or grab a hot chocolate. Online shopping will never be as fun.

You Decide

  1. Is shopping a kind of entertainment?

Activities

  1. Make a list of the 10 shops closest to where you live. What do they sell? Compare your answers with the rest of your class.

Some People Say...

“The odds of going into the store for a loaf of bread and coming out with only a loaf of bread are three million to one.”

Erma Bombeck, American writer

What do you think?

Word Watch

Shoplifting
To steal something from a shop.
Automatically
Something done by a machine without a person making it happen.
Monitored
To watch or check something for a special reason.
Sensors
An electrical device that measures the quantity or weight of something. The sensors can tell if an item has been lifted off the shelf.
AI
Short for artificial intelligence, this is the ability of a computer or machine to think and learn.
Receipt
A piece of paper or an email that proves you have paid for something.
Amazon Go
The first store opened in 2018 in Seattle, the city where Amazon and lots of other technology companies are based.

Subjects

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