December 2016 brought in so much excitement for people all over the world with Amazon announcing the launch of its revolutionary, “No Line, No Checkout” chain of grocery stores, under the brand name Amazon Go. We are now into July of 2017 and the concept still appears to be in its beta stage, according to a recent Forbes article, with the first Amazon Go store still to open its doors in downtown Seattle.
For the uninitiated, Amazon Go will be the only grocery store across the world where you won’t be charged for shoplifting! Well, you won’t be shoplifting in the first place. All you have to do is walk into the store, pick things up, and walk out. Everything you’ve picked up will be charged automatically to your registered credit card.
These grocery stores were conceptualized using the “Just Walk Out” technology. The idea sounds like a dream come true for today’s busy professionals, who hate waiting at those long checkout lines.
Core Concept & Technology
In December 2016, the first store 1,800 sq. ft. of Amazon Go was basically opened to Amazon employees in Seattle. Equipped with a variety of sensors and automatic charging, all a shopper was required to do was to pick up the required items and walk away.
Originally, the stores are expected to stock readymade meals and meal boxes, along with a full grocery store. Lots and lots of microphones, cameras, massive servers and power digital assistant, Alexa, will be the most reliable weapons for this concept.
In May 2017, Amazon trademarked the slogan, “"No Lines. No Checkout. (No, Seriously).” India, a country that has been very receptive of this brand, has also eagerly adopted Amazon Prime and Amazon Pantry. The country might also prove to be a lucrative market for this latest concept.
How it Works
When customers walk into the Amazon Go store, they will be tagged through their smartphones, which need to have the Amazon Go app downloaded. The store’s surveillance system will then pick up images of when the customer stops in front of shelves, the items they pick up and, most importantly, whether the item stayed in their hand or was put back on the shelf.
So, the first step is to download the app, following which, while in the store, the item one chooses to buy will automatically be added to a digital shopping cart.
If Amazon, a company that seems to be constantly innovating to use the latest technology to its advantage, licenses this technology to other supermarkets, it would be a win-win situation all around. This would mean that they not only sell the technology but also the cloud computing power of its Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Impact on Our Lives
Amazon’s new concept of convenience stores has been developed not just to help save you money but time too. Can you imagine, how much free time you’ll be left with after such a shopping experience? You can use that time productively, to accomplish various things in life, one day at a time. No store greeters, no floor employees to assist customers and no cashiers to collect payments – almost feels like Sci-Fi, right at our doorstep.
Now, all we have to do is wait and watch how much a game-change this technology is for the world of physical shopping.