Tech giant Amazon has ventured into a new category of consumer-based products, this time with a physical manifestation of the ‘product’, so to speak, as opposed to the usual virtual market that Amazon has a monopoly over. This time, Amazon is trying its hand out at something new. Something that not a lot of tech companies have tried to do before. Amazon is opening a grocery store!
It’s much more sophisticated than it sounds. Amazon is opening Amazon Go stores all over the world, with the very first one being located in Seattle, Washington. As expected from Amazon, the opening of this store will bring a huge breakthrough in the marketplace with the launch of Amazon Go. Gone are the days when you had to spend your precious time waiting in line for your checkout to ensue.
The Amazon Go stores bring forth a technological advancement that will allow shoppers to simply walk out of the store with the products that they need. Amazon is naming this the ‘Just Walk Out’ shopping experience. This article will explain what exactly Amazon Go is and why it is such a groundbreaking advancement.
What is Amazon Go?
Working with the same type of technology as used by self-driving cars, such as deep learning, sensor fusion, and computer vision, Amazon Go works with the Amazon Go app. The main selling point of Amazon Go is that there will be no checkout system in Amazon Go stores. With the use of the technology we just mentioned, along with other technology that is being put into place,
Amazon Go users simply have to choose the items they want and walk out from the store. This allows for a seamless shopping experience, as opposed to the long wait in lines that usually occurs in most stores. The technology detects what is being taken by the shopper and what is being picked up and then put down, and after the shopper leaves the store, their Amazon account is charged with the total amount of the things you bought and you are also sent a receipt so that there is no hassle of paying for things that the shopper didn’t even buy.
They offer delicious options for ready-to-eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks which are all made fresh every day by a team of chefs, local kitchens and bakeries. Grocery essentials include bread, milk, cheese and locally made chocolates.
How Does It Work?
Amazon Go App
Shoppers at the Amazon Go stores need to have the Amazon Go app installed on their smartphones and they need to scan the app to a device present in the store before they begin shopping. After they’re done with this they can begin shopping by simply picking up the items they need and putting them in bags either brought from home or provided by the store, without needing to scan each and every item.
The Amazon Go app contains four tabs, ‘Key’, ‘Receipts’, ‘About’, and ‘More’. The ‘Key’ tab contains a QR code which is used to scan on a turnstile that lets you into the store. The ‘Receipts’ tab shows you what you have bought from the store after you’ve left.
‘Just Walk Out’
Although Amazon has been very vague about the technology that will be used in the Amazon Go stores, as one would expect, there are certain things that the company has revealed that give us insight into the how the store will work. There is an assortment of technology that the stores will be using to keep everything functioning smoothly.
The company aims to use cameras and video tracking of customers as soon as they enter the store to make sure that they are only being billed for the items that they are purchasing. There is also mention of RFID and other kinds of sensors in the patent for the Amazon Go stores which will track which items are being put into shopping bags and which ones are being put back on the shelves. There is not much information out about the security concerns of the store and we do not know how Amazon plans on keeping thieves and shoplifters at bay.
The mention of biometric tracking and the notion of saving all of their customers’ physical measurements such as height, face, etc. has brought about questions of privacy. All in all, there is not enough information presented to the public that outlines the entire plan that Amazon has for these stores but the idea of it does sound very intriguing.
Where to next?
Amazon has four stores in Seattle, with one of them being a smaller part of a Macy’s store and it also has four Amazon Go stores in Chicago as well as two in San Francisco; all of this being a part of their eventual (and hopeful) 2000-store rollout.
Amazon is considering opening many variations of the Amazon Go shops, with some stores aimed to rival other big-box stores such as Walmart, while others resembling drive-thru style shops where users pre-order whatever they require and pick it up at a station reserved for these types of orders in the stores. Amazon also plans on creating chain-stores.