Amazon’s newest brick-and-mortar concept, Amazon Go, uses the latest in technology to offer a very different type of grocery shopping experience — one that makes self-checkout look old fashioned.
Located in downtown Seattle, the 1,800-sq.-ft. convenience store concept is currently open only to Amazon employees, but is expected to open to the public in early 2017. Its most striking point of difference is the complete absence of any type of checkout. Here’s how it works:
Shoppers click on the new Amazon Go app as they enter the store, and hold their smartphone to a scanner similar to an airport security line. Every time the customer picks up an item, it is automatically added to their virtual cart. (If the shopper puts the item back on the shelf, the item is automatically removed from the cart.) Once the customer leaves the store, their purchased is billed to their Amazon.com account.
Amazon broke the news about the concept via a video on its website. Explaining the technology behind Amazon Go, the retailer credited a combination of “computer vision,” “deep learning algorithms,” and “sensor fusion much like you’d find in self-driving cars.”
As to the product mix, Amazon Go sells ready-to-eat meals, desserts and snacks prepared on-site by chefs or local bakeries, essentials such as bread and milk and some higher-end offerings. According to the video, well-known brands will be available in the store. And showing there is no consumer niche that is safe from Amazon, the store will sell Amazon Meal Kits, which feature ingredients needed to make a meal for two in 30 minutes.