Skip Those Checkout Lines with Amazon Go
By Tracey Dowdy
I love grocery shopping. I realize I’m in a minority but I enjoy the process of selecting the best produce, just the right spices, and the freshest ingredients to put together meals for my family. What more often than not turns into a bee sting in the eye is the checkout process.
Fear not my friends, Amazon has heard our cry. No more dying slowly inside as you wait behind the extreme couponer. No more standing behind the woman with 47 items in the 8 items or less lane. No more condescending “Please remove items from the bagging area” from the self-checkout computer.
Amazon Go is currently being tested by Amazon employees in Seattle. The concept seems almost too good to be true. Customers simply touch their smartphone to a turnstile as they enter the Amazon Go store, automatically logging on to the store network and in to their Prime Account. That’s it. Start shopping.
As you walk the aisles and add items to your physical shopping cart, those same items are added to your virtual account. If you change your mind or are just browsing, sensors detect if the item is placed back on the shelf and remove it from your online cart. Once you’ve picked up all the items on your list, simply walk out the door. That’s it. Items are tallied and totaled and your Amazon Prime account is charged. The receipt for your purchases is sent directly to your account.
So, how does it work? In a video posted on its YouTube channel, Amazon states it uses “computer vision, deep learning algorithms and sensor fusion, much like you’d find in self-driving cars” and calls it “Just Walk Out Technology.”
Amazon is also working on developing two other brick and mortar store formats with drive through services as their primary draw. According to The Wall Street Journal, these options should also be opening in Seattle within the next few weeks.
If all goes according to plan, Amazon plans to open 2,000 brick and mortar stores as part of Project Como, Amazon’s long-term strategy to dominate grocery and food sales. Amazon Go is also designed to help Amazon compete with Target and Wal Mart, which have made several moves in response to Amazon’s stress-free, online shopping experience. Both retailers have announced plans to allow shoppers to order online and pick up items curbside or in-store, something Wal Mart already offers but is looking to expand to 1,000 stores nationwide.
Amazon expects its Seattle Amazon Go store to be open to the public in early 2017.
Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.