Amazing Amazon has done it again!
While Amazon employees have been enjoying the Amazon Go experience ever since the company opened the high-tech grocery store to its staff in December 2016, effective Monday (Jan. 22), the public will also get to savor the cashier-free, checkout-free, “just walk out shopping” experience at this revolutionary store in downtown Seattle.
Download the new Amazon Go app, enter the store, pick up whatever you fancy, stuff it in your shopping bag and walk out the store – that’s it! Your purchases will be automatically billed to your Amazon account while you get an electronic receipt on your app.
Here are the main features of the Amazon Go style of shopping.
A subway station type of concept awaits you at the entrance to the store where you must scan your Amazon Go app at one of the turnstiles to be allowed in. The key to everything, therefore, is the dedicated app, without which you can’t gain entry.
What’s even more unique is that if you enter in a group and want the purchases to be billed to one Amazon account, all you need to do is scan in each individual with the same smartphone, and the system will track their purchases as well as yours. You will receive a consolidated bill in your app once you guys are done and out of the shop.
Yes, it sounds like fun, but keep an eye out on who’s grabbing what!
Both, Android and iOS versions of the app are now available on Amazon Appstore, Apple App Store, and Google Play. So, if you are in Seattle, what are you waiting for!
The technology is based on deep learning algorithms, sensor fusion, and computer vision.
Hundreds of cameras throughout the 1,800-square-foot store, packed with shelves full of all sorts of foodstuff, track everything you pick up and add it to your virtual cart as you go along.
So, what happens if you change your mind and want to put something back? Well, just put it back and don’t worry about being billed for it. The technology will simply remove it from your virtual cart.
No shopping carts or baskets
By doing away with cashiers and check-out formalities, the Amazon Go technology has also made the shopping cart and basket totally redundant. Since you are going to walk in, shop and leave, all you need is a shopping bag to walk out with your purchases in it.
- A selection of grocery essentials, from staples like bread and milk to artisan cheeses and locally made chocolates as well as produce and meat
- Ready-to-eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack options made by Amazon Go chefs and favorite local kitchens and bakeries
- A small selection of beer and wine
- Soda, potato chips, ketchup etc. as well as foods found at the Amazon-acquired supermarket chain Whole Foods
Control on purchase of alcoholic beverages
With no checkout and cashiers, the only way to prevent an underage from walking out with alcoholic beverages is to have someone in the beer and wine section to check IDs, which is exactly what Amazon has done.
For a hassle-free customer experience, there will be employees patrolling the store to help customers find stuff and address any queries they may have.
“We’ve just put associates on different kinds of tasks where we think it adds to the customer experience,” said Amazon Go vice president Ms. Gianna Puerini.
Since it’s mandatory to be equipped with the dedicated app to enter the store, every customer inside Amazon Go is being tracked and recorded. Even if you jump the turnstile, you are being recorded by hundreds of cameras from hundreds of different angles.
Who would know better than New York Times’ Nick Wingfield who tried to sneak out with a four-pack soda – he had the company’s permission, of course – only to be billed as he left the store.
“Actual shoplifting is not easy at Amazon Go. With permission from Amazon, I tried to trick the store’s camera system by wrapping a shopping bag around a $4.35 four-pack of vanilla soda while it was still on a shelf, tucking it under my arm and walking out of the store. Amazon charged me for it,” Wingfield wrote.
No cashiers and no checkout formalities translate to no frustrating long lines to contend with, no exchange of cash, no fumbling with credit cards and no struggle at the self-checkout kiosks. All these, in turn, translate to time saved and enhanced shopping experience.
Well, as of now, the only area where the Amazon Go way of shopping can be viewed as disadvantageous is splurging through impulse purchasing. You could end up picking up more than what you came in for and not pay much attention to what it’s going to cost you.
Inc.’s Bill Murphy has rightly noted that “a lot of the pre-launch reviews say that shopping at Amazon Go feels less like going to a store and more like just raiding your own pantry. That means people potentially pay less attention to the cost of what they’re buying–and more impulse purchases.”