Is Amazon Go the future of grocery shopping?
Amazon Go is a truly convenient convenience store. In fact, it's on pace to change the way we buy our groceries forever. The lack of lines and waiting for a cashier is enticing, but are we ready for this technology?
- Last year, Amazon bought Whole Foods. This year, Jeff Bezos became the richest man in the world with a net worth of $105 billion. And, he’s only just getting started.
- Although a year behind schedule, Amazon has finally opened Amazon Go to the public, an automated bricks and mortar store without any cashiers.
Recently, we’ve seen a shift in retail as it merged with the technology of our homes. From Amazon Dash to the smart garbage can that identifies what you need to add to your grocery list, the way you shop has been upgrading over the years. Numerous mobile apps have made the process easy and much more feasible. We no longer worry about writing lists or tracking every single item – it’s all done for us.
While all of this technology helped with the admin side of grocery shopping, we are still behind in the way we shop at the actual store. It can take hours to complete your weekly shop. And, no matter how well you know your way around, it never seems to get any more efficient. There are too many variables that extend your time shopping, the biggest being human intervention. Amazon Go is the technology we’d been hoping for. However, at first, things did not speed up like they were supposed to. Nevertheless, it’s better late than never. Amazon Go is finally open to the public today, and we can’t wait to see this technology at work.
What is Amazon Go?
As Jeff Bezos says, it’s the first Just Walk Out shopping experience. This physical storefront requires no checkout. You simply need to have the Amazon Go app on your phone, take the products you want, and leave the store. No lines or waiting. It’s just like the ease of online shopping but in the physical world. Once you’re done with shopping, your Amazon account is automatically charged based on the items you’ve taken. It’s that easy!
Until now, Amazon Go was still a faraway idea for consumers. Although the concept came into the limelight in early 2017, it wasn’t open for public use until today. With all the speculation and excitement going around, our question still remains the same – are we ready for this technology?
Where is it?
Unfortunately, this beautiful store has just a single location. It’s located at 2131 7th Ave, Seattle, WA, near the corner of 7th and Blanchard. They’re open 7AM—9PM, Monday through Friday. The 1,800 square feet are filled with your everyday grocery items including delicious ready-to-eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack options made by their chefs as well as favorite local kitchens and bakeries.
Is this the future of retail?
Given the announcements we’ve seen so far, it seems like Amazon Go is just the beginning. Recently, at the National Retail Federation’s annual conference in New York City, Microsoft’s head of global retail, Greg Jones had said that
[b]rick and mortar will never go away because brick and mortar is the essence of retail. But what does need to change is the fabric, or certainly the model of brick and mortar. It’s not just a destination to buy, it becomes more of a showroom.
In fact, Amazon isn’t the only company working on this technology. The unmanned pop-up shop in Shanghai by Tencent Holdings has already pulled in 30,000 visitors in the first two days of operation. So, if you thought carts that push themselves or supermarkets without checkouts are a far-fetched idea, think again.
Is it really that great?
In addition to not having a checkout area, Amazon Go also offers many other benefits. Most importantly, the number of cameras in this storefront will make monitoring much more detailed. In fact, the way people shop at Amazon Go can actually reduce the percentage of shoplifters. And, since there’s no need to display your items along the checkout conveyer belt, you can just pop your items in your own bags. Essentially, you can go in, take items, and leave without having to answer to any employees. It’s an introvert’s dream come true.
What could possibly go wrong?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were a little over 3.5 million cashiers in the United States in 2016. If the Amazon Go model really takes off, that’s a lot of people without jobs. Another thing to consider is the potential for underage people taking age-restricted items such as tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter medications. So, from what we understand of Amazon Go, it’s not certain if there’s a checkpoint or if young people will be stopped at the door. Since there are no guards on duty, this might lead to the demise of the entire model. Of course, one solution would be to restrict the items for sale to only those that are available for everyone to purchase.
However, these concerns are relatively easy to fix. Overall, Amazon Go sounds like a brilliant idea if everything works as promised. Just imagine flying through the shop during the holidays and not worrying about lines. Although, there might be one just to get in.
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