Thursday, December 08, 2016

Amazon's Future of Shopping

Amazon Go, the cashierless grocery store, is another step in the evolution of shopping.   For my grandparents, store inventory was stocked in a back room and retrieved by the store clerk.  When I was a child,  shopping was self service, with payment at a central cashier.  Self-serve checkouts came after I became an adult.  Now, Amazon has advanced to no checkout.

There are some concerns that this will be the end of cashier jobs, of which there are 686,000 in the grocery industry.  That may be true.  However, there will be thousands of other jobs created.   As I read it, the technology is based on a number of cameras and sensors tracking the shopper through the store, and interpreting the shoppers actions to determine what is being purchased.   These cameras and sensors will need to be maintained, audited and periodically replaced.   Also, more security will be needed to update systems as hackers try to game the processes.  That will create numerous new job positions, although probably not directly transferable for displaced cashiers.

In addition, there may be opportunities for new higher value service positions that improve the shopping experience: for example, food concierges, who can help diets, recipes and other food related areas to differentiate stores from self serve status.  When the routine work is automated, knowledge based services will still be of value, IMHO.

It will be very interesting to watch how this experiment evolves, and its impact on the future of work for my children.

For more on Crossing Generations, check back Thursdays for a new segment.

This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2016 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

No comments: