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    Should You Be Worried About Amazon-Go C-Stores?

    Amazon continues its "new" venture by implementing one of its C-Stores in the city of Chicago. The store is beginning to gain traction and becoming a huge hit with people living in a city. Now for the business owners located in Chicago, it may be best to innovate your location or look for places outside the city if they decide to continue its growth. For all others who are unaware of the business mogul, here are a few things to keep in mind with the rise of Amazon Go stores and what you should do to beat out the competition. 

    • Technology/Innovation: If you walk into an Amazon Go store you will see terminals like getting on a train or a bus. You scan your QR code on the Amazon Go app and then the fun begins. Using costly laser technology, people can grab an item on a shelf and it will automatically go into a person's electronic shopping cart. Without getting heavy on the technological systems that Amazon has spent years refining, people can, "experience shoplifting without committing a crime". It's as easy as scan, grab, and go. No time spent with a cashier or anything.
    • Solution: Now most businesses do not have the financial resources to combat systems such as this so, what can you do to get an edge? Well, refine your customer service techniques. If Amazon chooses to cut out the human interaction then provide a market for the people who still want that type of environment. Another strategy would be to update some of your systems. Overhauling the technology currently used by Amazon would be a pricey venture, but adding safe, secure, and easy to use options for people might be a good start. The most important thing is to make people value real-life service versus automated systems. 
    • Large Variety of Food: Amazon Go stores have not only been praised for their technological advances but the variety that each store carries. The looks of the store and the media buzz are what got people to visit their locations, but it is the food that keeps them coming back. Currently, Amazon Go stores boast one of the most diverse selections of coffee in the United States. They have self-serving barista stations with coffee brands that span the globe. Coffee is one of the most profitable areas for C-Stores, and Amazon Go takes full advantage of that. 
    • Solution: While there selection and packaging suggest high quality, a lot of the food sold at these locations are pre-made, pre-packaged items that are not necessarily fresh. Their loss is your gain. If you make the jump to fresh food and prepared it at your store you could virtually have a leg up on the multi-billion dollar corporation. You can also add your own coffee station with numerous brands from different places. While it is always good to have things that are different from Amazon Go stores, it does not hurt to copy some of their success and do it yourself. 
    • Fast Checkout: One report done by Forbes stated that some customers were able to come in, buy their item, and leave all in under 30 seconds or less. This certainly changes the convenience aspect by making it easy for so many people in a rush. Amazon certainly sets the standard even for big companies like 7-Eleven who are trying to restructure their stores to compete with the growing chain. With no cashiers in store, people really have no communication whatsoever unless they need help finding something. That does not mean that this system is foolproof though. 
    • Solution: It's nearly impossible to compete with the speed of these new stores. Amazon has spent years and millions of dollars trying to perfect their system, and even then it has its shortcomings. What you can do to keep business in your store is by perfecting the things you already do, like customer service. Make your store a perfect and friendly place that caters to the market that may not be looking for a grab-n-go type function. Amazon go has some pretty spectacular software that tracks what they sell a lot of and makes sure to replenish it once its gone. Your advantage of being in the store is seeing what is sold and having it before it runs out. Amazon has also come up short in areas when they don't specialize their goods to specific areas.
    You have multiple advantages over Amazon Go, but it is all about whether or not you utilize them. Amazon is laying the groundwork to implement 2,000 more stores by 2021. In between now and then, they will continue to innovate and examine the market for what it needs. Take a more proactive stance and get ahead before they come into your neighborhood. Remember, if you cater to the community and offer EBT payments or Bill Pay, you automatically have an upper hand and a market local to you. If you are not one of our goEBT/Bill Pay customers then maybe its time you become one by Clicking Here.