Amazon Go is a brick-and-mortar shop without any checkouts
First there were tills operated by people. Then came the self-service checkout with the tyranny of the “unexpected item in the bagging area”. The next step, according to Amazon’s vision for its first brick-and-mortar stock in Seattle (Amazon Go), will be shops without any tills at all. Just pick everything you want off the shelf, stick it in your bag, and walk out.
If that sounds a lot like shoplifting, you’ll be in for a surprise when you check your smartphone and discover the contents of your bag have been charged directly through your Amazon account.
What kind of witchcraft is this? Well, the company says that this “Just Walk Out Shopping” experience is the result of computer vision, a bunch of sensors and deep learning. The video below even shows that the software is even able to detect when you get indecisive over whether or not to buy a cupcake.
So, what can you buy at Amazon Go? Pretty much everything you’d expect in a regular supermarket by the looks of it. Amazon promises “ready-to-eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack options made fresh every day by our on-site chefs and favourite local kitchens and bakeries”. There are also staples such as bread, milk, cheeses and “well-known brands we love”. Taking careful aim at food startups such as HelloFresh and Blue Apron, the shop also sells Amazon Meal Kits that contain “all the ingredients you need to make a meal for two in about 30 minutes”.
To begin with, the Amazon Go store is only accessible to Amazon employees, but the plan is for it to be open to the public in early 2017, and you can sign up to be alerted when it leaves this beta phase. If you want to go and gawp at it through the windows before then, it’s at 2131 7th Avenue, Seattle, on the corner of Blanchard Street. It’s a 1,800 square foot shop, so it’s pretty hard to miss.