While it has been over a year since the first Amazon Go store was launched, there are only 16 such outlets to date where shoppers can just take the items and leave the store, without making the payment at a check-out counter.
Jeff Bezos’s Amazon, the e-commerce giant, which has disrupted the way people purchase stuff, is making further strides in the future of retailing with the opening of Amazon Go stores. While it has been over a year since the first Amazon Go store was launched, there are only 16 such outlets to date where shoppers can just take the items and leave the store, without making the payment at a check-out counter. You may start to think that Amazon is giving products for free, but the Go stores are designed in such a way that enables the company to keep a note of all the items you buy and deduct the amount from your Amazon account soon after you step out of the store.
In fact, Amazon’s technology improvisation has also helped the company to make the experience totally human interaction-free, i.e no in cashiers or counters. However, the company has in-house associates for various purposes such as restocking. Fashioned in the style of conventional retail stores, Amazon Go stores are upgraded versions of supermarkets where customers can just walk into the store, pick what they want and leave without having to wait for making payments. At the time of entering the gate, one just needs to scan their Amazon ID from the account and can leave without making physical payments.
Yes, that means no checkouts, no standing in queues and no need to bring cash. The stores use technology like computer vision, deep learning algorithms and sensor fusion to automate the process, according to a promotional video by Amazon. “Our checkout-free shopping experience is made possible by the same types of technologies used in self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning. Our Just Walk Out Technology automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart,” Amazon said.
The store, which currently sells items such as prepared food, alcohol, and grocery, is able to detect the items you picked or decided to drop down, and then automatically updates it to Amazon account, even if you don’t put the stuff back in the same spot. The application even enables the addition of family members and the items purchased by the family are also directed towards the same bill. However, one downturn towards Amazon Go stores remains that people without smartphones or Amazon accounts cannot shop at these stores.
For now, Amazon’s Go stores are in a very concentrated geographical region of the United States as the company is still in the testing stage and is learning how to make the customer experience and the technology involved even better. However, the company has already announced three new store locations in Chicago and two in New York. Meanwhile, Amazon’s tech leap has also spurred competition to act. Rivals like Walmart and Seven-Eleven have also started to roll out something similar.