Amazon Launches “Amazon Go” Test Store

Imagine a world where people can visit a store without spending an extra 10-15 minutes in a checkout line. With Amazon’s recent announcement of the launch of a new, lineless store in downtown Seattle, that may soon become a reality.

The process would be as simple as tapping their mobile device on a turnstile as they enter the store. The customer is then logged into the store’s network and connects to their Amazon account through the Amazon app. Once inside the store, customers are able to shop freely, as they normally would. Once they are finished, they could walk right out of the store without having to wait in a checkout line.

This is made possible by Amazon’s machine learning technologies, sensor fusion and artificial intelligence that track items that customers pick up. Those items are then added to a virtual cart on the Amazon app. If someone decides they don’t want an item that they already picked up, they may put it back on the shelf and it will automatically be removed from their cart.

The 1,800-square foot test store offers prepared foods for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, as well as your typical grocery items such as bread, milk, and baked goods. Not only that, but customers will be able to pick up Amazon Meal Kits. Similar to services like Blue Apron, the kits include all of the ingredients necessary to create a meal for two in approximately 30 minutes.

Though information such as what brands the store will carry, how many stores will be opened, and how the technology works on a deeper, greater scale is still unknown, Amazon is on track to evolve the way consumers shop. The release of Amazon Go is also making many question the effect it will have on major grocers already established in the market.

With Amazon making the retail shopping experience more convenient, consumer behavior could be greatly influenced. A new standard of efficiency will create a higher consumer expectation in other retail outlets, thus forcing businesses to evolve. This sort of transition is great for consumers, however, it could prove to have a negative effect on employees. With the implementation of kiosk checkouts, sensors, and other intelligence technologies, we could see the number of retail jobs available plummet in the long run, leaving many unemployed.

The “just walk out” technology has been in the works since 2012 and will be released to the public in early 2017 after testing is complete.