The next big thing to have Coles and Woolies shaking in their boots – Amazon’s stand-alone grocery store – has debuted with a first-ever opening in Amazon’s US home town of Seattle.
The company says it has plans to open 2000 of the stores in the next 10 years in the US and wants to expand internationally – with Australia firmly on the radar. The grocery market in the US is said to be worth $US800 billion a year (or $1070 trillion in Australian dollars).
The 1,800-square foot Amazon Go store is initially just a concept idea for Amazon employees and comes with no check-outs, all your purchases made by an app on your smartphone (which, if anything, makes the future of checkout operators look decidedly grim). The store will finally open to the general public early next year. However, some detractors argue the concept isn’t really designed for convenience but to collect a whole heap of data on you and sell you even more stuff.
Check it out below:
The idea appears to cater for busy people who want quick, ready-made meals or pick-up the bread, milk, nappies or cheese on the way home. Amazon has said all the brands will be well known and not ‘home’ brands the likes of ALDI.
Amazon Go requires shoppers to scan their smartphones when they first enter the store, and the “just walk out” technology detects when products are taken off a shelf (or returned back) and then keeps track of what’s is in your virtual cart via the app. When you’re done, the company will charge users’ Amazon.com account.
The technology used in the store is reportedly very similar to that used in driverless cars. However, reports have said during initial trials that some people were uncomfortable with the technology because they felt like they were stealing!
The company said, “Four years ago we asked ourselves: what if we could create a shopping experience with no lines and no checkout? Could we push the boundaries of computer vision and machine learning to create a store where customers could simply take what they want and go? Our answer to those questions is Amazon Go and Just Walk Out Shopping.”
This isn’t Amazon’s first foray into bricks and mortar stores. It has a number of physical bookstores in shopping centres and college campuses.