Welcome to Amazon Go, the retail store of the future. Have you ever wondered what it will be like to walk into a store, grab anything you want from the shelf, put them in your bag and walk out of the store without anyone stopping you ? Well, Amazon has made it a reality by launching the Amazon GO, a high-tech retail store that uses artificial intelligence, cameras and sensors to sell it’s products to customers. No need to wait on wait on the line to make payments to any cashier, just grab whatever you like and go. Amazon calls it “Just Walk Out” technology.
There’s no cashier in the store. This innovative idea was born out the need to make shopping more easier and convenient. Amazon has proved to the world that it is a master of online shopping. Now, it has also shown the world that it is also a master of offline shopping. The Amazon go store sells almost everything from beer, food, bread, salad, chicken salad, wine drinks etc. The store is just like any other supermarket out there. The only difference is, there’s no cashiers and no one to search you either when you’re about to leave. There are currently three Amazon Go stores, one in Seattle, Washington and one in Chicago.
How does it work ?
The big question right now is, if Amazon allows customers to walk in grab anything they want and leave, how does it make their money ? The concept is very simple and I’ll explain everything here. First, before you become an approved customer of Amazon Go store you have to register online. The registration requires you to enter create an account with your credit card details. Then you will be required to install the Amazon Go app on your smartphone. Whenever you want to go shopping, just go to the store. Launch your Amazon app and scan it at the entrance.
After scanning the app, the rest is simple. Go to the shelf and grab everything you need. There’s is something called a “VIRTUAL CART” in your mobile app. Every customer has their own virtual carts. As you pick items from the shelf, it is automatically added to your virtual cart together with the amount. If you change your mind about the item and returned it back to the shelf, it is automatically removed from your virtual cart.
For example, you collect bread from the shelf, the bread is added to your cart. But if you change your mind, returned the bread and collect burger, the bread is removed from your cart automatically and replaced with the burger. After you finished shopping, as you walk out of the store your account is automatically debited and your receipt is sent to your smartphone via the app.
What if a customer decides to steal something ?
There is no town or city without a thief lurking around and Amazon is very much aware of this fact. The company has made security it’s top priority. Let’s not forget there are few Amazon staff around. The Amazon go store is also littered with thousands of cameras and sensors. They cover every item and also links the customers to their mobile app.
As you lift an item from the shelf, the weight sensor detects that something has been taken off the shelf and the camera does image analysis and the app adds it to your virtual cart along with the price. Although the technology is not completely perfect, a thief might succeed in fooling the system .Especially if the store is too crowded and too busy.
There’s a male YouTube creator who succeeded in stealing from the store and the items didn’t appear on his receipt list. He collected Yogurt and his account was not debited. He later called Amazon to report the error and proved it was possible to steal from the store.
Generally, it is a very good concept and people love this new Amazon store. The technology is still very young and there are other competitors that are trying to create a similar store. It is definitely going to improve and hopefully it’s going to expand to other parts of the world someday. I’m not just sure if Nigeria we’ll ever get something like this anytime soon. Amazon says if you notice you were not debited for any items you collect from the Go store and you fail to report it, they’ll consider it as “shop-lifting.” I wonder how they’ll call it shop lifting when the mistake is obviously from their system and not your fault.