WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Amazon Go, the first of its kind grocery store, opened its first and only location in Seattle, Washington on January 22.
- Operated by the giant online retailer Amazon, it could revolutionize the way we buy groceries, with no checkout cashiers or self-service cash register.
- With the help of electronic sensors, multiple cameras, and Amazon Go app, the identity of each customer and the items they select are tracked.
Amazon Go was opened to the public on Monday, attracting a lot of interested and excited shoppers. It’s like an ordinary supermarket but the difference is, there’s no dreaded queue to the cashier. Why? Because there is no cashier.
Shoppers should sign in to their Amazon Go app and scan their smartphones through gates when entering the store. Purchases made are billed to customers’ credit cards when they leave the supermarket.
Grocery items can be put straight into their shopping bags. No need for a cart or basket. There’s also no need for any human interaction at all unless you are buying alcohol then you need to get your ID ready.
Purchased items are added to customers’ Amazon Go account as they pick them up from the shelves. Items will be deleted when put back. An electronic receipt is issued to each customer before they leave the store.
The store opened to Amazon employees in December 2016 as a test phase, an Amazon insider said. The problems the store encountered were identifying shoppers of similar body types and children moving items to the wrong shelves.
Gianna Puerini, head of Amazon Go, said the store had operated well during the test phase: “This technology didn’t exist – it was really advancing the state of the art of computer vision and machine learning.”
Amazon is calling it “Just walk out.” They say it uses “computer vision, deep learning algorithms and sensor fusion, much like you’d find in a self-driving car”.
There are hundreds of infra-red ceiling cameras, weight sensors on the shelves, and visual dot codes on items to help cameras track them.
Amazon has no plans yet to apply the technology to its hundreds of Whole Foods stores.
But Amazon chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky hinted that rivals should expect more Amazon shops in the near future.
“You will see more expansion from us – it’s still early, so those plans will develop over time,” Olsavsky said in October.
Retailers are aware that the faster customers can make their purchases, the more likely they are to return. When long lines to the cash register are eliminated, it will give any retailer a big advantage over its rivals.
Source: BBC News