Amazon is set to disrupt the shopping experience yet again as it prepares to open its first Amazon Go checkout-free grocery store to the public.
The technology retail giant has created a small-format store where you can pick up groceries and walk out without having to stand in line and pay at a checkout.
Amazon is set to open its first checkout-free grocery store to the public next year. Image: Amazon
A prototype store for the use of company employees is already operating in Amazon’s home city of Seattle in the United States. It is set to open to the public in 2017.
The store is not large, and deliberately so. The retail space footprint is about 1,800 square feet so “busy customers can get in and out fast.”
How to use Amazon Go
To shop in the Amazon Go store you need an Amazon account, a free Amazon Go app, and a compatible smartphone.
To enter the checkout-free store, you scan your smartphone at a sliding gate.
This identifies you as a customer and alerts the app to start sensing when you pick up items. The app simultaneously “places” the items in a virtual shopping cart as you pick them.
If you change your mind and put an item back on the shelf, the app deletes it from the virtual cart.
When you have finished your shopping, you simply walk out. No standing in line to pay at the checkout.
The app totals the shopping, bills your Amazon account, and sends you an electronic receipt.
Amazon says the checkout-free shopping experience is made possible by three technologies similar to that used in self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning.
What can you buy?
The Amazon Go store offers ready-to-eat meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. These are made fresh every day by on-site chefs using ingredients from local kitchens and bakeries.
The store also offers chef-designed meal kits containing all the ingredients for making a meal for two in around 30 minutes.
There is also a selection of grocery essentials ranging from staples like eggs, pasta, bread, and milk to artisan cheeses and “locally made chocolates.”
Amazon celebrated its 21st birthday this summer. As the company came of age in July, its market capitalization reached $356 billion – positioning it as the fifth most valuable listed company in the U.S.
Amazon has not revealed any plans about expanding Amazon Go. However, there is a suggestion the company is also looking at two other store formats, and could be planning to open over 2,000 stores across the U.S.
Video – Amazon Go
The following informational video summarizes the Amazon Go checkout-free shopping experience.