This morning Amazon introduced the world to Amazon Go, its first physical grocery store concept with no lines and no checkouts.
Shoppers will need to download the Amazon Go app and swipe their phone to enter the store. As they shop sensors will detect which products they have taken off the shelves and once they leave the store their Amazon account is charged.
“Our Just Walk Out technology automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart… Just browse and shop like you would at any other store. Then you’re on your way. No lines, no checkout,” the company said.
Has Amazon just put an end to shoplifting or will the store become a painful lesson in shrinkage for ecommerce giant?
The 1,800 square foot store is located in Amazon’s home town Seattle and is currently only open to Amazon employees in a beta program. Amazon said the store will be open to the public in 2017, presumably once they are comfortable the invisible check outs actually work.
The grocery store follows the opening of Amazon Books in Seattle last year and comes as the ecommerce giant tries to capture more of the grocery market.
The store will stock ready-made meals prepared onsite, grocery essentials and staples such as bread and milk to upmarket items like artisan cheeses and locally made chocolates, the company said. Amazon said it will be sell well known brands and some new brands.
The concept of an invisible checkout or automatic checkout has been discussed by retail consultants and technologists over recent years, however it hasn’t been a concept that retailers have been prepared to invest in. Amazon will be a test bed to see if and how consumers change their shopping habits. And it will be the beneficiary of all the data it manages to collect in the process.
The company said, “Four years ago we asked ourselves: what if we could create a shopping experience with no lines and no checkout? Could we push the boundaries of computer vision and machine learning to create a store where customers could simply take what they want and go? Our answer to those questions is Amazon Go and Just Walk Out Shopping.”