Amazon Go is the first of its kind, a cashless grocery experience in which shoppers enter through gates that look like sleeker subway turnstiles, take what they want from the shelves and exit the way they came. No carts, no lines, no waiting. Amazon Go: The Checkout-Less Market, Making Walking Out The Right Thing.
You’re in a crunch for time. Rather, you don’t possess the spare minutes to idle in line while customers ahead dig for change or gawk at the trinkets decorating the checkout lanes. Now, with Amazon’s latest innovation in technology, the ability to opt out of crowded cashiering assistance is a small scale reality.
The company that has rapidly become a household name for the convenience and affordability has launched its most recent development: Amazon Go – a checkout and cashless marketplace that digitizes your spending.
For roughly five years, the brand has been developing and meticulously testing to resolve bugs in the automated system. Set to launch in 2017, but remaining a beta model until Q1 of 2018, the market now open to the public has generated lots of buzz. It’s understandable why.
The Just Walk Out technology that the store is becoming popular for allows a consumer to do just that – walk in, shop, and walk out.
The 1,800 square foot store based in Seattle, Washington contains unconventional elements that fuel its operation. Upon entrance the shopping experience is altered as you are greeted by electronic gates like those in subway stations or theme park rides – not rows of candy and registers. Rather than bare tiles, the ceiling above is lined with dozens of cameras monitoring the shopping experience from start to finish. The shelves that house inventory are lined with sensors that work with both the cameras and gates.
From the moment an individual scans their Amazon Go app at the gates to enter the store, their shopping trip is tracked. Customers peruse the aisles as they normally would. Nestled in them are lunch break friendly items or ingredients for a quick meal; beverages, snacks, premade entrees and basic cooking components.
“The majority of sensing is from above,” said Kumar, the Amazon Go executive. “Cameras figure out which interactions you have with the shelves. Computer vision figures out which items are taken. Machine-learning algorithms also determine which item it is.”
The digital magic is happening all around them. As they pick items off the shelves, weight sensors and computer identifying technology detect what make it to the basket as a final selection, and which items get put back. When finished, customers can simply exit through the gates with shopping bags in hand. The total of the contents of the trip are calculated and the card linked to an existing Amazon Go account is charged.
Not many have had the opportunities to experience the Just Walk Out technology, but those that have are stunned. It is virtually error free and many trips were completed in five minutes or less. Naturally some feel a tinge of guilt, feeling as if they are shoplifting, but in moments are hit with a wave of relief when they receive a digital receipt thanking them for their visit.
What about the cashier jobs? Some 3.5 million cashiering jobs exist in today’s world. Amazon is aware of the vast number employed by this role and assures that those jobs will simply be reallocated. Just as a change will occur in the shopping patterns of individuals, the role of staff will be altered. Rather than tending a register, Amazon envisions employees putting an increased emphasis on improving customer experiences. This includes quicker restock times, providing on-the-spot identification checks for beverages, and being readily available for troubleshooting questions on the floor.
No information has been released on plans to distribute this technology to businesses or be established in the newly acquired Whole Foods locations.