No lines, no checkout: Amazon revolutionizing grocery shopping

Andrew Cummings
January 24, 2018

Her double-question-mark confusion is actually an interesting effect of Amazon Go. A customer will then scan the app at the entrance of the store, walk in and grab whatever they'd like, according to Amazon.

Once they leave the store, a receipt is sent digitally and their Amazon account is billed.

SEATTLE-No cashiers, no lines, no registers-this is how Amazon sees the future of in-store shopping. For a pocket-size, 1,800-square-foot convenience store that hasn't technically opened to the public, the concept has had an outsized influence on the retail industry since its surprise unveiling in December 2016.

The shopping process starts as soon as they enter the store, which sports high-tech gates.

It was also criticized by grocery-store workers' unions, which feared an effort to automate the work done by cashiers, the second-most-common job in the U.S. Shoppers are charged for the final items when leaving through the sensing gates.

Human intervention is very minimal, apart from the wine and beer section, where an assistant is waiting to check IDs.

In a kitchen in the back, a half-dozen staff members were at work slicing vegetables for the sandwiches, salads and other take-away lunch options on shelves at the front of the store.

Amazon [IRDX RAMZ] has opened the doors of its first artificial intelligence-powered Amazon Go store in downtown Seattle to the public, enabling shoppers to use their smartphones to experience checkout-free shopping.

At first glance, prices seem comparable to small stores.

As yet, most retailers are struggling to stay ahead of customers desires and won't only fail to catch up with Amazon, but, in fact, will stay behind, warns Brendan Witcher, a principal analyst at Forrester. However, the company had not indicated whether its checkout technology will be implemented in its bookstores or at Whole Foods Markets, the grocery chain which is bought a year ago. Amazon Go also offers chef-designed Amazon Meal Kits with ingredients included to create a meal for two in about 30 minutes.

At Amazon Go, checking out feels like - there's no other way to put it - shoplifting. Actual shoplifting is not easy at Amazon Go.

The Amazon Go store is the only one by Amazon with this technology and it's now unclear what the company's plans are after this.

Dozens of brick-shaped black devices, about the size of a paperback book, are suspended just below the ceiling. Sleek black cameras monitoring from above and weight sensors in the shelves help Amazon determine exactly what people take.

Getting the system right took a while. Throughout 2017, it was open only to Amazon employees.

One engineer familiar with Amazon Go said in an interview that the company struggled in its early efforts to get its computer vision algorithms to reliably track customers.

The company evidently thinks it has ironed out those kinks. In fact, Amazon reports that there will be employees providing a customer service and maintaining the stock levels on the display. Amazon charged me for it.

The store was open to Amazon employees during that time and many were wondering when it would actually debut after the long delay.

How often does the system make mistakes?

The store allows customers to use a proprietary Amazon technology called Just Walk Out, which is connected to a smartphone and a current credit card.

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