Amazon today opened up its checkout-free grocery store "Amazon Go" to the Seattle public, continuing a plan that the company says has the potential to "dramatically alter brick-and-mortar retail" (via Reuters).
The new grocery store experience begins when customers walk through a turnstile and scan the Amazon Go app on their iOS [Direct Link] or Android device, which notifies the system that the customer is now in the store and shopping. Then, when they pick up an item and add it to their basket, cameras in the store and weight sensors on shelves associate each product to the customer who picked it up, and adds it to a virtual shopping list.
This tallies all of the items picked up by any one customer (and items returned to shelves are deducted from the total), so when they're done shopping all that needs to be done is to walk back out of the store through the turnstile. Amazon Go then charges the credit card users previously synced to the app and sends a receipt to the app's inbox, replacing the need to stand in a traditional checkout line.
Gianna Puerini, vice president of Amazon Go, said in an interview that the store worked very well throughout the test phase, thanks to four years of prior legwork.
“This technology didn’t exist,” Puerini said, walking through the Seattle store. “It was really advancing the state of the art of computer vision and machine learning.”
“If you look at these products, you can see they’re super similar,” she said of two near-identical Starbucks drinks next to each other on a shelf. One had light cream and the other had regular, and Amazon’s technology learned to tell them apart.
The official public opening comes over one year after Amazon began testing the store with employees in December 2016, a time in which the company learned how to fine tune the experience, according to people familiar with the tests. The camera system became better at identifying people with similar body types, and learned from the "havoc" caused by kids in the store who moved items to incorrect places on the weight-sensing shelves.
Image of the camera system within Amazon Go via TechCrunch
The Seattle location is located within Amazon's office building in the city, and right now the company isn't confirming when it will expand Amazon Go to more cities. However, it did state that there are "no plans" to introduce the technology into Whole Foods, which it acquired in 2017.
For anyone in the city, you can visit Amazon Go Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m., with food items ranging from dairy to ready-made Amazon Meal Kits and locally made chocolates.
is coming, and that means you’re finally going to have to bag your own groceries.
On Monday, Amazon released its new app that aims to revolutionize in-store shopping by allowing users to swipe their phones upon entering a store, scan items along the way and then, well, to put it simply… leave.
Sounds convenient, right? Well, not if you’re a stranger to the self-checkout line and have relied on cashiers to bag your groceries all these years.
With the new Amazon Go app, shopping (like so many other things in life) is about to become totally centered around your smartphone. With Amazon Go’s new “Just Walk Out” technology, customers won’t have to wait in those pesky checkout lines, which means there will no longer be a need for cashiers. Read more…
When Amazon unveiled plans on Tuesday for grocery stores without cashiers, it seemed like an omen of the future: A store full of shoppers, with just a few workers in the background.
Are the robots coming for our jobs? (Some of them.) Is Amazon Go the future? (Probably.)
And yes: It could create somejobs, too. But as for the jobs it’ll leave behind, that’s where bad news gets worse. It’s not just that Amazon’s grocery-buying disruption will cost jobs—it’s that the people who rely on those jobs are already our country’s most economically vulnerable. It’s a bad situation made worse.
I wanted to dismiss Amazon Go as another Jeff Bezos attention play. But I was wrong. This is the shopping experience we’ve all been waiting for. Amazon is the most important retailer in the country, and when it tries to transform how we shop and receive products, people listenI listen.
When Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos went on 60 Minutes a few years ago to unveil his plans for drone delivery, I had a million questions and almost zero faith that they would ever make it happen. Delivery drones like Amazon’s proposed Prime Air must be fairly large, they’re loud and, in most neighborhoods, will always feel invasive. And the FAA is never going to cooperate. Delivery of one product by drone isn’t even particularly efficient. If nothing else, Amazon is an incredibly efficient product delivery service. I can order five products this morning and receive some or all of them within 48 hours (and sometimes sooner). Read more…
Apple customers may be familiar with the option of walking into an Apple retail store, purchasing a product with the Apple Store app, and walking out without checking out or even speaking to a single employee, and now Amazon seeks to one-up that experience with a new concept called Amazon Go.
Amazon Go provides a checkout-free shopping experience that, to the naked eye, looks exactly like shoplifting. After scanning a smartphone upon entering a store, the app automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart.
Amazon Go says the app utilizes computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning, allowing customers to simply take what they want and go with no checkouts or lines required. Shortly after, Amazon will charge a customer's Amazon account and send a receipt, meaning that, unlike the Apple Store app, shoppers do not even need to be in the store during the actual payment process.
Amazon did not provide any further details, so beyond that it remains unclear exactly how the process works.
For now, Amazon Go is limited to Amazon employees in the company's beta program, while only one Amazon Go food store in the company's hometown of Seattle—at 2131 7th Ave—currently supports the app. Amazon Go will open to the public in early 2017, possibly signaling the app's expansion to other stores.
All customers need is an Amazon account, a supported smartphone, and the free Amazon Go app. Amazon informed MacRumors the app will likely support iPhone, and presumably Android-based smartphones as well.
Amazon’s splashy video for Amazon Go — an all-seeing, all-knowing store where customers can grab items, toss ’em in a bag or pocket and just walk out without ever waiting in line — has obvious appeal. So obvious, in fact, that another tech company proposed the exact same concept more than 10 years ago.
An IBM ad showcasing a smart store got major circulation on the airwaves in 2006 (when YouTube was nascent). It features a nefarious-looking character in a trench coat wandering the aisles of a supermarket, stuffing his pockets with items as other patrons and security guards shoot him looks of suspicion. As he exits the store through what looks like a security gate that “flashes” him, the guard calls out, “Excuse me, sir!” Read more…