Amazon has officially opened its latest innovation in Seattle – A corner shop that doesn’t require you to check-out before leaving. It uses ‘just walk out’ technology to allow customers to pick up items from around the shop, and walk away, pockets full, as if they were committing a robbery.
The new technology allows you to shop using an Amazon Go app. You present the app at the gates to get in, and then a series of cameras and sensors in the store detect when you pick something up or put it back. Ten minutes after you leave the store, your card is charged with the balance of your purchases and you’re given a digital receipt. The contents of the Amazon Go shop are very simple. Much like a Tesco Express, there’s a mini bakery, with some essentials, snacks, and lunch bites. However, the ramifications of check-out free shopping are the real talking points here. ‘Cashier’ remains the second most common job in the US, and while the cost of Amazon’s technology may be too great for most businesses to implement at present, this is another person’s employment sector threatened by machines. Amazon Go does employ chefs to make many of their products, as well as in-store assistants.
Amazon Go’s Vice-President, Gianna Puerini believes the store is ideally catering to those who are “pressed for time and hungry.”
The premise of it is all about speed and efficiency, which it certainly offers, as queues are no longer necessary. However, NBC’s financial editor, Jean Chatsky sees the cash free, ‘friction-free’, quick spending as a worrying sign for people conscious of their expenses.
Mrs Puerini expressed interest in opening more Amazon Go stores.
Having said this, Amazon Go is in its infancy and whether or not the idea will continue to grow in popularity remains to be seen.