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On Monday, December 5, online retailing giant Amazon announced the opening of its first brick and mortar grocery store. Called Amazon Go, the Seattle-based store that is currently being tested by company employees, closely mimics regular convenience stores except for one thing — thanks to Amazon’s proprietary “Just Walk Out” technology, all purchases are handled electronically. This means there are no cashiers, checkouts, or lines. Shoppers simply grab what they need and leave.
To shop at Amazon Go, customers need to open an Amazon account and download the store’s App onto their smartphone. Upon entering the store, they swipe the phone at a kiosk and begin shopping. Every item picked up gets added to the bill automatically. If the customer changes his/her mind, all he/she has to do is return the purchase back on the shelf, and it will be removed from the final bill. Once the customer leaves the store, the amount spent is automatically deducted from the Amazon account and a digital receipt is generated to alert the shopper of the transaction.
To provide busy customers a pleasant shopping experience, Amazon, which has been working on this concept for four years, plans to keep the store size at a “comfortable” 1,800 square feet. In addition to typical grocery products like bread and milk, the store will stock ready-to-eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner options, made by on-site chefs. There will also be chef-designed Amazon Meal kits for those that prefer to cook the food at home.
Amazon will not provide any insight into the cutting-edge “Just Walk Out” technology. The company website states, “the checkout-free shopping experience is made possible by the same types of technologies used in self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning.”
This is not the only brick and mortar store concept the online retailer is working on. Other projects in the works include a drive-thru only grocery store and a massive 30,000 to 40,000 square foot multi-store, which will offer a variety of goods, both in-store and for later delivery.
Resources: wsj.com, wired.com, centralmaine.com