Want to feel like you’re shoplifting without the hassle of breaking the law? After almost a year of eager anticipation, Amazon Go, Jeff Bezos’s first checkout-free convenience store will open its doors to the public today.
Today, Amazon Go, the first Amazon physical store located on the ground floor of the company’s new headquarters in downtown Seattle, will finally be opened to the public. The so-called store of the future, which will offer a checkout-free experience to people, was initially slated to open in March last year. However, due to undisclosed circumstances, the plan didn’t push through.
Over the years, Amazon has made it clear that they’re all about innovation. From introducing some of the best smart home technologies to revolutionizing our online shopping experience, the company definitely has no plans of slowing down. Now, its latest venture is all set to change the retail industry by providing people with a faster shopping experience.@amazon is opening its #AmazonGo store in Seattle to the public today!Click To Tweet
Amazon Go looks just like the typical convenience store. But what you don’t know is that the whole place is equipped with a proprietary technology that monitors every single item being taken from the shelves, as well as, all the people that walk in and out of the store.
— Amazon.com (@amazon) January 21, 2018
Amazon Go’s Checkout-Free Technology
Dubbed as the Just Walk Out, the new technology behind Amazon Go is proprietary and all details will be kept confidential while the company continues its experiment with a more varied set of customers aside from its employees, USA Today reported.
The entrance of the store is lined with a row of gates, only allowing people with the Amazon Go smartphone app entry to the store. Inside, you’ll find a wide variety of on-the-go foods such as salads, beverages, and ready-to-eat meals for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
There are also small selections of alcoholic drinks, fresh produce, meat, and Amazon’s meal kits. There’s an area dedicated to chips, cookies, nuts, and other products from the 365 Everyday Value brand.
There are no cashier stands or registers in sight. Anyone who enters the store can walk away with his or her purchase without pulling out cash or a credit card.
This is because everything that has been picked out by shoppers from the shelves or stalls are accounted for and will be charged automatically to their Amazon account.
Without carts, shoppers can put their items directly into the shopping bags provided inside the store then just leave after getting what they need.
No lines. No checkout.
“People can come in and regardless of how crowded or less crowded it is, you control the amount of time that you’re actually spending at the store. You’re no longer subject to the vagaries of how long it takes you to shop,” Dilip Kumar, Amazon Go’s vice president of technology was quoted as saying.
This new shopping experience is being made possible by hundreds of cameras and sensors floating above the store shelves. The Just Walk Out technology allegedly involves sophisticated computer vision, deep learning algorithms, and sensor fusion. Apparently, Amazon’s new system can see and identify each item in the store without the need for special chips or barcodes.
While Amazon Go hopes to bring shopping convenience to the next level, the fear that it’s technology might displace some 3.5 million cashiers in the United States should it go public, also arises. However, the company stressed that the tech would not take away jobs. Instead, it would just change the role of employees.
“We’ve just put associates on different kinds of tasks where we think it adds to the customer experience,” Gianna Puerini, the executive in charge of Amazon Go, told the New York Times.
True enough, the absence of cashiers is compensated by the presence of store employees restocking the shelves, helping customers with any technical or shopping problem, checking I.D.s for alcohol purchases, and other customer-related services.
Right now, no one knows for sure what Amazon plans to do with its new technology. The company is denying speculations that it might sell the Just Walk Out technology to other retailers or that it would be used inside the Whole Foods supermarkets.
“There are no plans to…introduce this technology in any of the other physical settings that we have.” ~ Dilip Kumar