The opening of a grocery store in Seattle would not ordinarily make front-page news around the world — but 2131, 7th Avenue is no ordinary corner shop. This is the birthplace of Amazon Go, a new real-world shopping experience from the online retailer. Unlike your regular hypermarket, the store will have no checkout lines. It already knows exactly what is in your cart, so you can walk straight out.
– Intelligent software detects when items are taken off the shelves
– The Amazon Go app keeps a running total for each shopper
– Customers are billed for the items when they leave the store
The magic happens when shoppers enter the store and sign in using their smartphones. The store is packed with cameras and LIDAR sensors — the light radar technology used by self-driving cars — that follow your every move around the 1,800 square feet of retail space.
Artificially intelligent software then interprets these movements, detecting when you take items off the shelf. In other words, Amazon has programmed a computer to watch everyone in the store at the same time, and keep a running total of the items they pick up.
“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,” – Amazon press release
Dubbed “Just Walk Out” technology, the Amazon Go system is undoubtedly convenient. Without the traditional checkout process, picking up a couple of items will only take a couple of minutes. On the flip-side, there are legitimate privacy concerns about a store that watches its customers. While loyalty cards already track our purchases, Amazon’s eye in the sky feels dangerously close to Minority Report.
— Carl Franzen (@carlfranzen) December 5, 2016
What We like
A store that lets you buy things without wasting away your precious life. You will also find Amazon Meal Kits, which offer everything you need for making a tasty meal at home within 30 minutes.
Room for Improvement
You need to live somewhere near Seattle, and the store is only open to Amazon employees just at the moment. Plus, you need to be okay with being watched by an Amazon-made robot.
Open for Business
The first ever Amazon Go store will open to the public early next year. The store isn’t enormous, but it stocks essential groceries. Shoppers will just need an Amazon account, and the app installed on their devices.
Would you feel comfortable shopping in Amazon’s all-seeing store? Share your thoughts in the comments!