Amazon has opened its first ‘Amazon Go’ supermarket in Seattle, WA – where there are no lines and no cashiers, because there is no checkout. Calling it the ‘world’s most advanced shopping technology’, their ‘Just Walk Out Shopping’ experience could very well be the future for grocery stores. There will still be people in the kitchen and store preparing ingredients, stocking shelves and helping customers, but it may also foreshadow a future with no humans involved in the process – at least at the cash register for now.
How it works is really quite simple as they explain; ‘All you need is an Amazon account, the free Amazon Go app and a recent-generation iPhone or Android phone. You can find the Amazon Go app on the Apple App Store, Google Play and Amazon Appstore. When you arrive, use the app to enter the store, then feel free to put your phone away – you don’t need it to shop. Then just browse and shop like you would at any other store’.
While shopping, you can check your app to see your purchases and if you decide to remove it from your cart or bag, it will be deleted. Once you are done shopping, you just walk out. Shortly after, they will you send you a receipt and charge your Amazon account.
The technology behind it is the same type they have in self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning (artificial intelligence). Sensors automatically detect when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart.
The idea of not having to wait in line or having your bag of chips packed underneath a hot, barbecued chicken… with a container of frozen ice cream on top, could be very appealing to many people. But the idea of disconnecting from human interaction might be very disconcerting for others.
How do you feel about it? Are you excited about the new technology? Does the idea of less human contact concern you?