Tuesday, December 6, 2016
What if you could go shopping a store that didn’t have lines or checkout? Amazon thinks they’ve done just that, using their new Go app. Launching in beta this year to Amazon employees at a single 1,800 square foot location in Seattle, Go is a new kind of store that doesn’t require checkout
Customers use the Go app to enter the store. Once inside, a combination of sensors, computer vision and deep learning keep track of what’s taken off and returned to shelves inside a virtual cart. Once the shopper is finished, he or she just walks out of the store. In the background the company charges their Amazon account, and provides them with a receipt.
In the works for over 4 years, Amazon thinks this is the way shopping should occur everywhere. However in its current version, the particular store is more like an updated version of an automat. It serves only ready-to-eat meals and snacks prepared on-site. The store also offers Amazon Meal Kits that can be ready to eat with a 30-minute preparation time.
This particular store is Amazon’s second entry into the retail arena. Last year they opened a Seattle bookstore called Amazon Books. Amazon is expected to continue to experiment with retail stores by doing pop-ups around the country.
AmazonFresh is also an experiment with retail, where Amazon provides grocery delivery. Although that one started in Washington State as well, it’s been deployed in many areas around the company.
And let us not forget Amazon’s other checkout apps like Selfycart and Instacart. If all of this comes together as planned, Amazon would become the largest presence in this space that is trending towards the removal of checkout lines.
What’s not clear is what happens when an individual decides to have a shopping spree, only to find out that they can’t pay for it or they’ve exceeded their Amazon spending limit. Short of Amazon arranging for a big robotic arm to swing out and throw the person out of the store, this could easily put them into the instant credit card business, with no bank needed as a go-between. Interesting angle…