Amazon Opening Store That Will Eliminate Checkout-and Lines
Amazon unveiled technology that will let shoppers grab groceries without having to scan and pay for them, according to Bloomberg. The company is testing the new system at what it’s calling an Amazon Go store in Seattle, which will open to the public early next year. Customers will be able to scan their phones at the entrance using a new Amazon Go mobile app. Then the technology will track what items they pick up or even return to the shelves and add them to a virtual shopping cart in real time, according a video Amazon posted on YouTube. Once the customers exit the store, they’ll be charged on their Amazon account automatically.
The concept store and automated checkout mark Amazon’s latest attempt to upend the grocery business. The company began experimenting with fresh food in 2007, when it started AmazonFresh, a delivery service now active in 16 U.S. markets. Amazon has since started opening pickup centers where shoppers can fetch their web purchases. Perhaps recognizing that many people remain reluctant to purchase fresh food online, sight unseen, the company is now testing what looks a lot like a convenience store.
Amazon employees are testing out the 1,800-square-foot Seattle store, where they can buy ready-to-eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack options as well as grocery essentials from bread and milk to artisanal cheeses and locally made chocolates. Also available: Amazon Meal Kits, containing all the ingredients needed to make a meal for two in 30 minutes.
Grocers have been experimenting with automated checkout for years. The stores argue that the idea is not to get rid of workers, but to free them up to mount displays and help customers find what they need. In some Stop and Shop stores customers can use scanning guns to total up the bill as they troll the aisles. But shoppers still have to go to a checkout station at the end to upload their bill and pay, or hand the scanner over to a cashier, which sometimes stills entail waiting in line.