Is this 1,800 square foot store the future of grocery shopping? After over a year of anticipation, Amazon Go, the high tech, line-less, cashier-less shopping experience, opens today in the ground floor of one of the buildings in Amazon's Seattle headquarters.
The store started when Amazon asked itself: What if we could create a shopping experience with no lines and no checkout? Could we push the boundaries of computer vision and machine learning to create a store where customers could simply take what they want and go?
The result is a sleek, upgraded convenience store where shoppers can buy ready made meals, wine, produce and Amazon's own meal kits. Since the company acquired Whole Foods back in June, they're also stocking Whole Foods' 365 products.
So how does it work? Customers have to download the Amazon Go app, which they then scan from their smartphones upon entry. Once they're in the store, they can just toss things into their cart—no need to scan anything or punch in a code. There are sensors on the shelf and cameras in the ceiling that connect the customer (and their app) with the items they selected. They simply walk out of the store, no cashier, no checkout system.
The shopping experience isn't entirely people-less. There are greeters and folks checking IDs for alcohol purchases. There are also people on hand in case of any technological hiccups. But the maximum efficiency, minimum personal contact store is perfect for the city known for its "freeze."
The company has yet to announce any plans for expansion, but it seems highly unlikely that they would invest all of this time and money in a single store, so keep an eye out for an Amazon Go possibly coming to your neck of the woods.