Amazon Go is a physical store that enables the user to self-checkout. But haven't we seen this all before?
As details of Amazon’s newest retail venture come to light, it’s worth taking stock of where this latest initiative fits within the innovation landscape.
We’ve already seen ideas that combine the ease and instant gratification of physical storefronts with the speed of the digital shopping basket. First came a UK based company that enabled shoppers to self-checkout using Apple pay or a debit card. Then came the smart shopping bags and QR codes that achieved the same effect. We even saw Radio-frequency identification (RFID) ready carts with half an eye on achieving similar results way back in 2007.
Now, Amazon has created a more elegant solution, using image-recognition technology to create a physical grocery store in which shoppers can simply pick up goods and walk out.
Amazon Go is a physical 1800-square-foot retail space located in the company’s hometown of Seattle, due to open early 2017. Shoppers scan an app as they enter, and computer vision and sensors located throughout the shop identify what items are being placed into or removed from a person’s cart, charging their account automatically as they walk out of the door.
As progressive a step as Amazon Go may be, there are plenty of indications that this is just the start for Amazon. For example, many people may wonder why a company that has so much data on their customers still requires them to walk around a store to collect everyday items. Perhaps it is only a matter of time before we see retail giants adopt something more radical, such as robotic shop assistants, to free up time for shoppers to browse for non-essential items?