Did you ever watch the Jetsons and think we would be shopping like them one day? Well, the future of shopping seems to be heading that way…
Seattle: Amazon opens its checkout-free grocery store to the public on Monday after more than a year of testing, moving forward on an experiment that could chance bricks-and-mortar retail forever.
The Seattle store, known as Amazon Go, relies on cameras and sensors to track what shoppers remove from the shelves, and what they put back.
No Lines. No Checkout. (No, Seriously.)
Cash registers and checkout lines become superfluous – customers are billed after leaving the store using credit cards on file.
For traditional supermarkets, the store’s opening heralds another potential disruption at the hands of the world’s largest online retailer, which bought high-end supermarket chain Whole Foods Market last year for $US13.7 billion.
Long lines can deter shoppers, so a company that figures out how to eradicate waiting times will have an advantage.
Amazon has not announced if or when it will add more Go locations, but reiterated it has no plans to add the technology to the larger and more complex Whole Foods stores.
How it works
The Seattle store is located in an Amazon office building. To start shopping, customers must scan an Amazon Go smartphone app and pass through a gated turnstile.
Ready-to-eat lunch items greet shoppers when they enter. Deeper into the store, shoppers can find a small selection of grocery items, including meats and meal kits. An Amazon employee checks IDs in the store’s wine and beer section.
Sleek black cameras monitoring from above and weight sensors in the shelves help Amazon determine exactly what people take.
If someone passes back through the gates with an item, his or her account is charged. If a shopper puts an item back on the shelf, Amazon removes it from the customer’s virtual cart.
Much of the store will feel familiar to shoppers, aside from the check-out process.
Amazon, famous for dynamic pricing online, has printed price tags just as traditional brick-and-mortar stores do.