European supermarkets have made minimal efforts to update their in-store experience over the past decades, leaving an opportunity open for Amazon.

In December 2016, the e-tailer announced yet another ground-breaking move: Amazon Go—the first supermarket with checkout powered by artificial intelligence. Now, major European retailers are preparing their countermove.

Amazon Go

Apps are the best tool at a retailer’s disposal that doesn’t require the prohibitive investment necessary to develop AI. Over the past year, in-store functionality on retailers’ iOS Apps has increased by 50%, according to L2’s Digital IQ Index: Retail Europe. Enhancing the in-store experience by digital innovation is a prerequisite to fast-forward brick-and-mortar retailers by 20 years.

While a number of these apps allow users to add items to their baskets with a barcode scanner, only a handful provide a checkout experience that approaches that of Amazon Go. One of these is Monoprix’s app, Monop’easy—an app that the French retailer’s president claims to be better than Amazon Go.

Monoprix app

The app facilitates the checkout experience by allowing customers to scan items directly to their baskets and pay directly in-app without having to queue at a self-service cashier. Although roll-out remains limited to a handful of stores, the effort is encouraging.

Retailers are hearing the call of Amazon’s chess-style “check”. Are their actions fast enough to avoid getting “checkmated”?

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