Amazon’s first Amazon Go checkoutless grocery store is set to open to the public in Seattle later today. Billed as ”Just Walk Out Shopping. No lines, no checkout—just grab and go!, this Monday will be the first day that members of the public can shop at Amazon Go after a year of testing with Amazon employees and the odd visit by journalists.
The premise is simply, you scan the Amazon Go mobile app on your way into the store and then technology takes over with weight sensors and cameras tracking which products you pick off the shelf. Amazon then charges you when you leave with no queues or indeed no checkouts at all to worry about. The technology is clever enough to know which customer picks up an item even if they are standing next to each other and will even know if you replace a product and not charge you for it.
Amazon have said that they currently have no plans to roll out further Amazon Go stores and that it is an experiement to push the push the boundaries of computer vision and machine learning to create a store where customers could simply take what they want and go. That didn’t stopped them from registering the Amazon Go trademark in the UK at the end of 2016. The UK Intellectual Property Office also approved Amazon’s application to trademark the slogans “No Lines. No Checkout. (No, Seriously.)” and “No Queue. No Checkout. (No, Seriously.)” back in May 2017.
In some ways Amazon Go is better suited to the UK consumer than the US, as we have been brainwashed by supermarkets to do their work for them. There are scanning solutions which trust the consumer to scan each bar code on their way around the store and self service checkouts where we’re expected to do the checkout assistant’s job for them. In the US service is valued more and even today it’s not unusual to have a checkout assistant scan your shopping and a second employee to pack your bags for you. It would be no surprise to see Seattle residents flooding to try the Amazon Go store when it opens – the novelty and natural human curiosity will tempt many to try the experience.
Will Amazon sell or licence Amazon go technology?
An interesting question that some retailers may be asking is whether Amazon will exploit the technology themselves or if it may be licenced for other retailers to use in the future. If we consider that Amazon built warehouse and then rent them out with FBA, Amazon built their own cloud computing network and then rented it out as AWS and Amazon have built their own logistics network and again rent it out for Seller fulfilled prime, it’s clear that Amazon have a strong track record of building solutions which may be useful (or just interesting) and then finding ways to monetise them with fee paying clients.
Visit the Amazon Go grocery store
If you want to try Amazon Go for yourself, the 1800 square foot outlet is in downtown Seattle at 2131 7th Ave, Seattle, WA, near the corner of 7th and Blanchard. Before you go you’ll want to download the Amazon Go mobile app which is available from Google Play, iTunes or of course from the Amazon app store.