Amazon Go still plans to transform convenience in retail stores
It’s been nearly a year since Amazon.com opened its first Amazon Go convenience store. While the beta version of the concept, which was initially supposed to open earlier this year, took longer than expected, Amazon Go is now ready for its coming out party, Bloomberg reports.
The 1,800-square-foot store, which operates without checkouts, uses sensing technology that identifies customers who scan their Amazon Go mobile app as they enter the location. When shoppers take items from the store’s shelves, they are automatically added to their virtual shopping carts. If they put items back, they are removed from their carts. When customers leave the store, Amazon bills their accounts and sends a receipt to the app.
Amazon Go features everyday staples, such as bread and milk, as well as ready-to-eat meals and snacks made fresh by on-site chefs and local suppliers. Customers can also pick up Amazon Meal Kits with all the ingredients needed to make a meal for two in about half-an-hour.
With checkout-free stores, Amazon Go intends to eliminate one of the key customer pain points at retail. In March, The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon had pushed back opening the location after discovering the store’s technology would malfunction if large numbers of customers were on the premises. Amazon’s management, apparently, now believes it has worked out those issues sufficiently enough to move ahead with Go’s public unveiling.
Bloomberg reports that Amazon has shifted from hiring engineers and research scientists for the project to construction managers and marketers, another sign that it is ready to roll out the concept to more locations. How quickly Amazon Go ramps up or whether its “just walk out” technology will be exported to Whole Foods is not yet clear. The Verge reports that regulators in the UK and Europe have approved a trademark request for the concept, suggesting that Amazon’s ambitions extend beyond the borders of the U.S.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will Amazon Go be a success? Does the fact that Amazon took a year to move past the beta stage make you more or less confident in the concept? Do you expect Amazon to roll out the technology behind Go to Whole Foods, as well?