You see the catch phrase “Just walk out” plastered all around the store upon entering, The Amazon Go concept store in Seattle, Washington, is certainly no ordinary shopping experience.
I was recently in Seattle for online marketing conference, Mozcon, and could not pass up the opportunity to experience the new concept store that by Amazon (And will no doubt start rolling out to the rest of the world at some point)
The concept behind the store is that the current way we buy things in retail stores is flawed and inefficient and in typical Amazon fashion, the new store aims to turn that on its head.
To go shopping at the Amazon Go store, all you need to do is have an Amazon account.
Step 1: Download the App
The app is available on all devices.
All you need to do is install it and sign into your Amazon account – thats it.
Step 2: Scan into the store
Once you arrive at the store you are greeted by some turnstiles, much like when you are entering a train station.
Simply open the app, scan the QR code as your enter, and you are in.
Step 3: Choose the things you need
Just like a normal shopping experience, you choose the things you need off the shelf and put them in your basket or in one of the complimentary reusable bags on offer.
As you select items, Amazon is keeping track of everything (Including if you pickup and then return items to the shelves)
Step 3: Just walk out!
Once you have chosen all your items, you simply walk out of the store and be on your way. No checkouts, no payments, no tipping.
Step 4: Get your receipt
Around 10 minutes after you leave the store you will get a receipt itemising all the items you selected. If for any reason their system got something wrong (It won’t), their is an easy process of lodging a query and getting a refund.
So how does the technology work?
Obviously there is a lot of technology involved to make this thing work and I won’t try and reinvent the wheel by explaining it all but basically:
To remove human cashiers Amazon has created a store that’s able to run a high-level of surveillance on the people inside it. The New York Times reports hundreds of cameras are placed around the store. They’re on shelves and above aisles, but according to TechCrunch, they don’t use facial recognition technology.
Instead, the cameras use computer vision – the process of allowing machines to “see” what is in front of them and determine what an object is – to detect when an item has been taken from a shelf by a customer and who has taken it. The system is also able to remove an item from a customer’s virtual basket if it is put back on the shelves. By using a network of cameras, Amazon is able to track people in the store at all times, ensuring it bills the right items to the right shopper when they walk out, without having to use facial recognition.
Full details here: https://www.wired.co.uk/article/amazon-go-seattle-uk-store-how-does-work
The things Amazon is doing is going to change the way we shop.
Seeing technology live in action gave me a better understanding of where things could be headed. In a society where we value better experiences in all aspects of our lives, I have no doubt this new Amazon technology will be exactly how we shop in the future.