AMAZON has pulled out all the technological stops to bring us a store where you don’t have to line up to queue, nor stand in front of the cashier rummaging for change while the person behind you taps their foot impatiently. A single brick-and-mortar Amazon Go grocery store has been introduced in Seattle and uses what they call ‘Just Walk Out’ technology.
The technology works in tandem with the Amazon Go app. Customers simply walk into the store, pick up whatever they need, and walk out with groceries in hand.
Amazon explains it neatly: “Our checkout-free shopping experiences is made possible by the same types of technologies used in self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning.
“Our ‘Just Walk Out’ technology automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart. When you’re done shopping, you can just leave the store. Shortly after, we’ll charge your Amazon account and send you a receipt.”
Does that mean Amazon will be watching every single step you take from the second you walk into their 1,800-square foot store? Probably. But it will appeal to anyone who hates queues and awkward rummaging – which is just about everyone.
The company adds that Amazon Go was created to “push the boundaries of computer vision and machine learning”.
The store is currently only open to Amazon employees as it’s still in Beta testing stage, but will open to the public in early 2017.
There could be some environmental benefits to the Amazon Go store as well, if customers are only allowed to use reusable shopping bags and receipts are purely electronic.
While it’s probably going to be a while before such a store concept becomes available in Asia Pacific, it brings up some pretty exciting possibilities for e-commerce players who want to challenge conventional supermarkets and offer customers more efficient options.
But until then, looks like we’ll be tapping feet in queues. Here’s looking (enviously) at you, Seattle.