Amazon’s New Concept of Automated Grocery Store Just Business as Usual for Wawa

Wawa woman
Photo courtesy of Amazon Go.

In Amazon Go, the e-commerce giant has a fully automated grocery store that is poised to threaten all kinds of competitors, but Wawa won’t likely be one of them.

“Self-service automation is quickly becoming the status quo for the grocery and convenience store industry,” consultant Gene Marks wrote in The Washington Post. However, “East Coast chains like Wawa and Sheetz have been using automated kiosks for years that accept orders for their takeaway sandwich counters.”

Actually, the Amazon threat really isn’t anything new to anyone in the convenience-store industry, which adapted well to the disruption of automated gas pumps in the 1960s and 1970s. More challenging this time around will be the conversion investment, especially for mom-and-pop stores with far fewer resources than Wawa.

Plus, a friendly face and good customer service still adds tremendous value for many customers.

“Convenience stores have thrived because they meet the demand for immediate consumption, with the average experience at your typical store being about three minutes,” said Jeff Lenard, Vice President of the National Association of Convenience Stores.

Read more about Amazon Go’s effect on C-stores like Wawa in The Washington Post here.

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