AmazonGo is a Go and it will Transform Retail Completely
The cashierless store is launching, and retail will never be the same again.
As the driverless car is to the disappearance of taxi and truck drivers, computer vision and machine learning will be responsible for the disappearance of the cashier.
Walmart, Alibaba, Target — everyone will be copying AmazonGo’s tech now.
AmazonGo is Live
AmazonGo is after a year of beta testing, went live this week in Seattle. It uses a combo of machine learning and computer vision to keep track of what shoppers are buying. Consumers can now expect this mega-7 Eleven type convenience store to be the fastest and best physical retail experience yet.
Eliminating Friction of Checkout Lines
AmazonGo will sell sell fresh food and meal kits for shoppers on-the-go while eliminating typical hassles like checkout lines and waiting. It’s literally the grab and go experience and light-years beyond any “self-checkout” you might see.
In the history of retail, as a futurist I can say that this is a big moment. Chinese and the leading retailers will all be trying to replicate the seamless customer experience Amazon is offering with AmazonGo.
This isn’t just reinventing brick and mortar shopping, it’s the next era of consumer fulfillment in busy urban locations.
AmazonGo’s algorithms are trained, and if it took Amazon so long to perfect this tech enough to show it to the public, you know it’s going to be hard for Walmart, Target, Alibaba and others to truly encapsulate into their customer experience.
How Fast Does Convenience Scale in the 4th Industrial Revolution?
However, as with self-driving tech once it goes live; everybody has to do it!
Cashierless convenience is a revolution, and it raises the bar in what consumers expect of physical retail.
It also changes the future of retail jobs, forever. When this technology goes live; mobile-sign in replaces the entire idea of having to “checkout”; so this changes not only how we staff stores, but it also automates the point of sale that could lead to a paperless — digital receipt era.
Amazon had announced the concept that is the AmazonGo store, with fanfare in December 2016. Thirteen months later, here we are finally!
Amazon is widely expected to transform physical retail with any number of physical location types.
Amazon Go allows customers to grab items and just walk out without stopping to pay.
Well of course you are paying, AmazonPrime gives you a lot of perks after all; and if speed is important to urban citizens, AmazonGo is nearly guaranteed to do well coming to a city near you soon. You might even be talking to Alexa on Amazon Alexa Glasses by then, as you navigate the store.
Just 5 months after Amazon acquired Whole Foods in the $13.5 billion deal , that added 470 brick-and-mortar stores to its portfolio overnight. Amazon’s entry into physical retail is therefore cautious, calm and calculated.
It’s important to point out that Amazon does not use facial recognition like China (and Apple) will. This isn’t invasive technology.
What AmazonGo store shows is how the need for employees to be present, will be significantly reduced in the future of retail.
That is not just significant for costs, but for how the smart city of tomorrow will be increasingly automated.
The City of the Future Will Be Automated
Think about it, in just 5 years your Lyft or Uber will be driverless, and you’ll only see other shoppers like you in many stores. That’s just in 2023, nevermind the number of robots, drones and immersive ambient tech you will see in 2030.
To say that AmazonGo has been a project five years in the making, would be an understatement. Retail technologists have always been obsessed with how to improve the customer experience, and there’s increasing evidence consumers don’t require “sales people” around anymore. The entire industry is ready for this shift.
The marketplace, the office, transportation and the coming of robotics into the mainstream urban life means a radical change of how we experience, live and work in cities. Retail and transportation are on the front lines; banking, healthcare and education will be next.
There’s a fairly good chance Amazon will want in on those as well, as it ramps up its ability to compete in the future of entertainment, advertising and artificial intelligence (Alexa) now.
So while AmazonGo is a little step forward, it’s pretty significant to the new model of Retail.
It’s only a matter of time before the likes of 7-Eleven and Starbucks will have to follow suit. Robots are coming to Walmart and Target needs to double-down on keeping up. This isn’t an isolated event or an idiosyncrasy of Amazon; Walmart was late to perfect online retail and it cost them perhaps the future of retail.
It’s a GO for Amazon and it’s not waiting up for anyone to catch up!
This just happend. No cashiers, no registers, and no lines.
What starts in Seattle, doesn’t stay in Seattle.