Health is everywhere, I find in my travels and in my community. I’m in Chicago at the Becker’s health care conference with VisitPay this week, and had the opportunity to take a walk around the corner from the Hyatt Regency to the Illinois Center to visit one of the few Amazon Go stores operating in the U.S. Here’s what I found in my search for all-things-healthy at retail.
You cannot enter an Amazon Go store without downloading the app that’s freely available in your operating system’s appstores for Apple, Google and, yes, Amazon. The app was quick to download, but I had trouble accessing the sign-in screen to tie to my Amazon Prime account. Dewyone, an Amazon Go staff member who greeted me when I entered the store’s front door (shown here), told me that they had their own Wi-Fi network. I accessed it, and that did the trick enabling me to sign into my account.
Once your app has your Amazon account info, you simply touch your phone to an entry screen to scan your personal QR code (like you can do when boarding an airplane using an airline’s app), and that magic touch opens the gate (Amazon’s version of a high-tech turnstile) allowing you to explore the many aisles of food and things for sale. You can pocket your phone because you won’t need to pull it out again to pay — nor your wallet — because the store is sensored and armed with technology that tracks what you’re buying. There are no shopping carts — so the tech isn’t in a cart — it’s all around you, embedded in the bricks and mortar of the small, convenience store-sized space.
You find well organized and designed aisles of fresh food to take out for a meal, salty and sweet snacks, fresh produce (some whole in packages and some cut-up ready to eat or cook in a meal), an entire wall of drinks (with every kind of hydration opportunity you might want) and a cold room for beer (which requires a check-in of ID).
I also found a large end-cap with chocolate of all sorts (the dark stuff in moderation, healthy!), and a kiosk with popular brands of health-beauty-wellness items like Burt’s Bees and ChapStick, OTC pain and cold meds, and small-sized items for laundry and personal care, shown in the third picture.
I walked out with a salad, a bottle of Vitamin Water Zero, a single serve container of Fage yogurt, and a bottle of water. Amazon calls that the “Just Walk Out Technology.”
I can now say I Went to Amazon Go.
Health Populi’s Hot Points: I was inspired to visit Amazon Go because just prior to taking this walk, I listened to a talk at Becker’s from Chris Holt, who leads global health care for Amazon Business. Amazon Business is Amazon’s B2B organization, and Chris is responsible for working with six segments of the industry to enable buyers and suppliers to streamline the supply chain, lower costs, and create value for all in the transaction (including Amazon). Those six segments are doctors, dentists, acute care, non-acute care (like long-term care and rehab), manufacturers, and other health care services.
THINK: Amazon driving its three obsessions for consumers to the B2B healthcare procurement function for price, convenience, and selection through the lens of personalization for the customer – in this case, the purchaser of supplies at a hospital, long-term care facility, pharma company, lab, or dental office. Amazon Business now serves 50% of the 100 largest hospital systems in the U.S.
Chris quoted Hans Melotte, now EVP of global supply chain at Starbucks, who observed: “Employees increasingly wonder why the technology at work can’t be as easy and intuitive to use as the tools they use in their personal lives. It frustrates them. More importantly, it impacts their productivity at work, and therefore also impacts a company’s ability to innovate and grow.”
That goes for shopping in a convenience store, as well.
Here are Dewyone and me saying ‘bye when I was leaving the store. I wanted to thank him for turning me on to the Wi-Fi in the store, and helping shepherd such an engaging experience in a convenience store (or “C-store” as we say in retail circles).
The C-store is gaining healthy credentials, as it turns out. Even 7-11 has launched an innovation lab, the likes of which we find in health/care and food companies. You can now find kombucha at convenience stores. I found some really lovely healthy items at the Amazon Go store, which for now is a learning lab for Amazon at retail.
Yes, health is indeed everywhere — even in the C-store, a new front door for health.
Here’s a short video explaining the Amazon Go experience — which I encourage you to do when you’re in a town with one of these new-fangled C-stores…