Amazon just launched Go, a shopping experience that requires no lines and no check-out… you just go. Full of grab-and-go options and grocery essentials, you can pick up everything you’d need without the hassle. Amazon claims to use computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning to create what they call “Just Walk Out” technology. Sign into the app before you walk in the store and it automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and then keeps track of them in a virtual cart on your phone. Using computer vision the Amazon Go store recognizes you and your actions, making it unnecessary scan each item individually (or have a cashier!). After you’re all done shopping, you just walk out — no line, no hassle. Shortly thereafter, Amazon charges your account and sends you a receipt.
The first store is in Seattle, of course, at 2131 7th Ave, Seattle, WA, on the corner of 7th Avenue and Blanchard Street. Amazon is hoping to open stores to the public in early 2017, but it’s currently only open to Amazon employees that are in their beta program. You can sign up to be the first to know when a store opens near you here.
What do stores like this mean for retail jobs? We’re not quite sure yet. But to be honest, this move doesn’t surprise me. There have been rumors of Amazon creating more retail experiences around the globe. By eliminating most of the staff needed to operate a store and the time it takes to checkout, Amazon keeps costs lower than traditional supermarket competitors, moving people through the space faster and more efficiently. Not only has Amazon started Go, but it’s opened a plethora of new businesses and leveraged incredible technology to deliver packages via drone with Amazon Prime Air, offer home grocery delivery with Amazon Fresh, let you upload data by the truckload — literally — with Amazon’s Snowmobile, and deliver a new shopping experience through new digitized experiences. The idea is to reimagine the shopping experience with users in mind and grow an understanding of shopper interests in order to engage with them more effectively across their shopping journey.
Amazon, a retail powerhouse, has been slowly expanding its offerings over the years. After opening its first Amazon Books store last year and a variety of pop-up stores around the US, they’ve been pushing brick and mortar locations as extensions of their Amazon.com experience and new retention channels for customers. On the surface, these stores may look like normal retail stores, but the real magic is what happens under the hood. In Amazon Books stores, reviews are up front and real-time, customers are encouraged to price check online. The entire experience delivers data back to your Amazon account, which helps create a custom profile for you and your preferences.
With the backing of Amazon’s web services analytics and data platforms, Amazon is able to rethink the in-store retail experience with transparency in mind. Amazon can track which books are best-selling locally, nationally or internationally, upkeep inventory and track purchases, geo-target shoppers accurately, and think of the buying process as a journey from an online search to the physical purchase. But Amazon Books is just one example, with the collected data around you, and a bunch of other people like you. Amazon can know what you’re interested in and what you’re going to purchase before you do, leveraging opportunities to morph their brand into our lives, creating loyalty and instilling trust, not resentment. Amazon Go, and a multitude of other offerings from Amazon, are changing the way we live.