Amazon Go bubble bursts as beta store capped at 20 customers

Amazon Go, the checkout and queue-free grocery store shown off in a glossy promotional video last Christmas, appears to be having some issues getting off the ground.

Amazon Go bubble bursts as beta store capped at 20 customers

The hype around Amazon Go looks to have been slightly over-indulged if a new report by the Wall Street Journal is to be believed. The report revealed that Amazon’s flagship grocery store in their Seattle hometown can’t handle more than 20 customers at a time.

It says the tech behind Amazon Go “freaks out” if an item is moved from a specific spot when more than 20 individuals are in store. A shame for Amazon, I can’t think of anyone that wants to be inside a shop in the midst of a breakdown.

Amazon Go’s promo video demonstrated the death of our physical checkout and in replacement a walk-in walk-out experience. The store would stock food and drink products and customers could pick up an item and then just leave the store. Yes, it sounded a lot like shoplifting but each customer would be automatically charged via Amazon payments upon leaving the store.

The anonymous source of this WSJ report said “For now, the technology functions flawlessly only if there are a small number of customers present, or when their movements are slow.” So perhaps it just needs work? It is worth noting the store is currently only in beta, after all. Amazon has been trialling the initiative with a limited number of its employees in the Seattle area.

Until now reports on the performance of Amazon Go’s beta store have been kept under wraps. Given the hype, it seems logical that Amazon would keep limitations quiet. Nevertheless, Amazon has been stepping up its retail game of late, it is nearly two years since the company launched its first physical bookstore, and Amazon still plans to roll these out across the US.

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