Amazon has opened the first ever Amazon Go store in Seattle, which they hope would one day lead to a brand new type of shopping experience.
The new building is the world’s first checkout-free convenience store. Shoppers simply walk in, scan their Amazon Go app, gather the items they want, and then walk out. No lines or fuss required. It also does not matter if they put their items in a bag, pocket, or backpack. Amazon knows what has been taken and charges the account accordingly.
“This is the future of grocery shopping,” said customer Yuval Fleming, who was one of the first to try out the store, according to USA Today.”It’s exciting to see the technology in action,”
Amazon has been working on the technology behind Amazon Go for the past five years. While it was first supposed to open to the public last year, there were a series of bugs that the company needed to figure out.
Most first-time visitors bought snacks and small items to test the new technology. While the space is the size of a regular convenience store, it is filled with a variety of high-end foods. This includes beverages, sweets, snacks, ready-made salads, frozen foods, and meal kits for dinners.
The store works because the food sits on shelves that are filled with hidden sensors that register when an item has been removed or put back. At the same time, hundreds of cameras on the ceiling capture movement and watch shoppers.
Amazon has not discussed any future plans for the technology, but they believe it will be scalable in the coming years. That would allow them to expand to more cities, and potentially mix them with Whole Foods, which Amazon purchased last year.
The new process has a lot of potential, but there are also many critics who believe the technology could take away from future jobs. In addition, it does not accept the popular food stamps known as SNAP.
Another potential drawback is that the store only sells identical items because they are easy to keep track of, which means it can only have so many unique items at one time. Even so, many believe the company will be able to figure out that issue with time.
“Subway and Chipotles have very strict standards that standardize everything, that’s how they’re able to make sure there’s not huge variation in cost,” explained Amazon analyst Sucharita Kodali. “These major chains have figured it out, so I have no doubt Amazon will as well.”
This new store is in the early stages, but as the technology advances it could quickly become more widespread. The prices appear to be the same as other stores for right now, which suggests there is a lot of potential for Amazon Go.