Inside Amazon's New Human-Free Grocery Store
Just for a minute, close your eyes and imagine how much easier supermarket runs would be if you could simply grab what you need and walk out the door—no lines, no waiting, no coupon clippers, no check-out drama. Well, that supermarket scenario is a reality right now—at least in Seattle, where Amazon just launched Amazon Go, its first brick-and-mortar check-out-free supermarket, where shoppers can breeze in an out, filling their bags direct from its shelves, without ever having to stand in line.
Amazon Go, located at 2131 7th Ave. in Seattle, is currently open in beta to Amazon employees, with plans for a public debut in early 2017. The 1,800 square foot store stocks heat-and-eat meals made on-site and by local kitchens, as well as grocery basics, including bread, milk, cheese, and chocolate. The location also sells "Amazon Meal Kits," which includes all the ingredients to cook a meal for two (think: Blue Apron or Hello Fresh).
To shop the store, customers download the free Amazon Go app, which links to your Amazon account. Scan the QR code on your app as you walk in the front door and proceed down the aisles, filling your shopping bag as you go along. By harnessing advanced sensor technology, everything you buy is automatically synced with the app—and you're automatically charged and checked-out as you walk out the door.
"Our checkout-free shopping experience is made possible by the same types of technologies used in self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning," the store's FAQ page explains. "Our 'Just Walk Out' technology automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart. When you're done shopping, you can just leave the store. Shortly, after, we'll charge your Amazon account and send you a receipt."
We can't wait to see how it plays out in Seattle—and here's hoping the retail concept rolls out across the country. Amazon Go isn't the online retailer's first foray into brick-and-mortar shopping. The company launched its first physical bookstore in the University Village shopping center in Seattle late last year.