TECHNOLOGY

Amazon’s cashier-less convenience store is finally a ‘Go’

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

After more than a year of fits and starts, Amazon opened the doors of its cashier-less Amazon Go store to the public on Jan. 22.

The 1,800 sq.-ft. store, located in an Amazon office building in downtown Seattle, touts advanced shopping technology that supports what Amazon calls a “just walk out shopping experience” — one that doesn’t require cashiers or any type of formal checkout. The format, (to see a video of the store, click here), combines computer vision, sensor fusion, and machine-learning algorithms, along with a dedicated app.

Amazon Go opened its doors in a test mode in December 2016, open exclusively to Amazon employees. The company’s website teased that it would open to the public in early 2017, but glitches with the technology pushed back its public debut.

The format features fresh ready-to-eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack options, grocery essentials —from staples like bread and milk to artisan cheeses and locally made chocolates — as well as Amazon Meal Kits.

Here’s how it works: Shoppers launch the Amazon Go app as they enter the store, and take the products they want off of store shelves. The “walk out” technology automatically detects when products are taken off (or returned) to the shelves, and keeps track of them in a virtual cart. When customers are done shopping, they just leave the store. Shortly after, they receive a digital receipt and their Amazon account is also charged for the order, according to the web site.

The online giant has not yet announced any expansion plans for Amazon Go. It also said it has no plans to add the technology to its Whole Foods Market stores, according to Reuters.

Amazon Go is part of Amazon’s ongoing push into brick-and-mortar retail, which includes Amazon Books stores, Amazon Fresh Pickup locations for online groceries, and its 2017 acquisition of Whole Foods.

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