You may have seen tests from a year ago popping up on the web, but as of today after a year of testing Amazon’s checkout-free grocery store opens to the public.
The store located in Seattle known as Amazon Go uses technology that incorporates cameras and sensors to track what shoppers take off the shelves. There aren’t any checkout lines and cashiers and customers are billed after they leave the store using credit cards and payments that the user has on file.
The current store is around 18oo square feet and to begin shopping, customers scan the Amazon Go smartphone app when they enter the store through a gated turnstile. Currently, the store doesn’t offer a full grocery selection and focuses on ready-to-go and convenience style meals. Cameras and sensors are situated throughout the store that categorizes and tracks what customers grab off the shelves. Once an item is taken through the turnstile at the front of the store, the customers Amazon account is subsequently charged. If the customer puts an item back on the shelf, then the item is removed from their virtual cart.
While industry experts expect this concept to expand nationally and internationally, Amazon has not yet discussed further locations nor have they alluded to bringing the concept to Whole Food stores.
According to the CBC, while the new concept is exciting, it isn’t perfect. It has been hard for the sensors to differentiate between people with similar body types, and also when children were brought into the concept store they caused havoc moving items around.
It will be interesting to see how this concept works out as conventional grocery chains initially believed the concept would fail.