Welcome to the future of grocery shopping: at the new Amazon Go store—now in beta in Seattle—there’s never any lines or waits, because there’s literally no checkouts.
Taking one more step towards some strange merger between eCommerce & brick-and-mortar storefronts, Amazon has introduced a new grocery store that integrates some of the same technologies utilized in self-driving cars to offer a completely “check-out free experience“. The Amazon Go store’s “Just Walk Out” tech automatically tracks when customers take items off of the non-virtual shelves, and bills their Amazon account automatically when they are done shopping.
As this article on Martech Today points out, Amazon isn’t exactly giving away the secret sauce as to just how all of this works. Shopping at Amazon Go requires a supported smartphone and the Go app—but, whether some sophisticated RFID or machine vision is involved in the physical tracking of each item is still a bit of a mystery.
And for the time being, so will the Amazon Go store itself—unless you happen to work for Amazon. The Seattle grocery is in “beta” as of the time of this article, and only open to employees of the retail giant until sometime in 2017.
The Amazon Go store is the company’s latest foray into offline commerce, which Amazon says began four years ago. The eCommerce leader already has grocery connections via its Amazon Fresh delivery service, a chain bookstore, and has offered home repair services in various markets.