Amazon Sells Groceries, Get Used to It
One year after it was promised, Amazon.com Inc.’s cashierless convenience store is scheduled to open to the public on Monday January 22nd, 2018.
The new Amazon Go store, which will be located in the base of Amazon’s main headquarters in Seattle, uses machine-learning alogorithms and computer imaging to track consumers and charge them for what they put in their cart. Therefore, eliminating checkout counters, cashiers, and baggers. This is an experiment done by Amazon that is part of the company’s broader effort to reinvent how consumers do their grocery shopping, and eventually, perhaps all of their shopping.
Amazon announced the new Go store in December 2016, and said it would open to the public in early 2017. The opening was delayed, however, as some technical issues needed to be worked out. In addition, Amazon workers were used to train the system. That training helped Amazon Go’s technology better identify objects and follow the different speeds and patterns of shoppers.
“The Go project shows how Amazon is attempting to transform shopping in physical retail stores after many years of setting the standard for retail online” said Keith Knutsson of Integrale Advisors.
In August 2017, Amazon completed a $13.5 billion deal to buy grocery chain Whole Foods, adding 470 brick-and-mortar stores to its portfolio overnight. The Amazon Go technology uses cameras throughout the store to track shoppers once they are inside. A customer entering the store scans his or her phone and then becomes represented internally as a mobile 3-D object to the system. Cameras also are pointed at the shelves to determine shoppers’ interactions with goods.
Although some store jobs become obsolete with this system, others do not. Certain store associates are still needed for maintaining the system functions, customer service if a shopper is not satisfied, and for instances where customers purchasing alcohol must show identification.