We’ve seen a gradual upgrade in supermarket technology in recent years, with the likes of self-service checkouts and online ordering, but there’s still a long way to go. Self-service checkouts often present issues that require human interference, for example that incredibly annoying ‘unexpected item in the bagging area’ error or where your item somehow scans itself 3 times in one go or just generally scrolling through the masses of fruit and vegetables to discover your new species of cucumber. What’s the solution? Get rid of the checkout altogether, according to Amazon.
On Monday 22 January 2018, Amazon will be opening its flagship store ‘Amazon Go’ in Seattle, USA. Amazon Go will be one of the first checkout-free supermarkets where customers simply pay using the Amazon Go app. This ‘grab and go’ store is one-of-a-kind and promises to reduce the amount of time customers spend paying for their items.
Using advanced ‘Just Walk Out Technology’, the store is able to detect which products you pick-up and adds them to your ‘virtual cart’ which can be viewed in the app. Simply download the Amazon Go app, link to your Amazon account, scan the code on the turnstiles as you enter the store and you’ll receive a bill from Amazon showing the charges to your Amazon account when you exit. Once you’ve used your phone to enter the store, you can place it in your pocket and continue with your shop – there’s no need to use the phone for payment when you leave, this is all automatically processed by Amazon.
With technology there’s always room for error, however Amazon say that they are continually developing their ‘Just Walk Out Technology’ to accurately charge people in more complex situations. For example, it may be difficult to detect the correct products when there’s a large crowd exiting the store, or when families have happy-grabby children who continually pick items up, move them around in store and even eat them on the go. The concept of Amazon Go also presents a few socioeconomic implications such as the promotion of human-free stores, potentially placing a huge portion of the retail sector in unemployment, alongside classism issues for those who don’t have access to a smartphone or mobile data.
Maybe the Amazon Go concept is a bit ahead of its time, but we can’t wait to hear how the store’s first few weeks pan out!
Would you be willing to try shopping at Amazon Go, or do you prefer a more traditional supermarket experience? Let us know!