After years of planning and testing, perennial disrupter Amazon has finally opened its first “checkout-free” grocery store in the US that many say will change the face of bricks and mortar retail forever.
The store, called Amazon Go, opens in Seattle today, and uses an app and cameras so shoppers are charged when they remove an item from the shelf and then leave the store sans any checkout experience and have the bill charged direct to their credit card.
Initially, Amazon Go will focus on selling thing such as ready-made-meals, snacks, drinks, produce and fresh meat. Stroll in, grab it and walk straight out again without any checkout hassles.
Check out the Amazon Go promo video below:
To start shopping, customers simply scan an Amazon Go app and pass through a gated turnstile. When someone passes back through the gates with a bought item, their account is charged.
However, if a shopper puts an item back on the shelf, then it is removed the virtual cart.
An experimental version of Amazon Go has been running for Amazon employees since 2016 and the company appears to have ironed out the glitches enough to roll the experiment out to the general public.
That said, the retailing behemoth has been coy about future Go stores and whether it would take the concept globally.
Amazon Go vice president Gianna Puerini said the store concept had worked very well throughout the test phase, namely due to four years of hard work.
“This technology didn’t exist. It was really advancing the state of the art of computer vision and machine learning,” she said.