E-commerce giant Amazon is aiming to cut out the checkout lines at the grocery store, thanks to a new technology it’s calling Amazon Go. The new tech will allow customers to be charged for items they purchase as they walk out the door.
With Amazon Go, shoppers will no longer have to stand in line as their items are scanned one at a time. The new tech has the potential to massively change the way we shop.
The technology uses a combination of computer vision, deep learning algorithms, and sensor fusion, similar to the way that the technology behind self-driving cars uses multiple sensors to analyze road conditions. Using the Amazon Go system, shoppers would use their phones to scan QR codes displayed on their phones as they enter the store. The items they select to purchase would then be automatically added to a virtual shopping cart, similar to the one the Amazon Web site uses to charge users for goods.
No Lines, No Checkout
The platform is based around something Amazon refers to as its “Just Walk Out” technology that automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart. When users of the app are done shopping, they can just leave the store without having to scan and pay for their items. Shortly after, Amazon will charge their accounts and send them their receipts.
The technology allows shoppers to go about their shopping the way they normally would, but without the hassle of having to wait in a checkout line.
The technology is currently limited to a single Amazon Go pilot store in Seattle, Washington, and is only available to Amazon employees. But the company said that the store will eventually be opened to the public early in 2017.
No Plans To Expand, Apparently
“Four years ago we asked ourselves: what if we could create a shopping experience with no lines and no checkout?” the company said in a statement. “Our answer to those questions is Amazon Go and Just Walk Out Shopping.”
The Seattle store offers prepared meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks using prepared by onsite chefs as well as local kitchens and bakeries. It also offers a selection of groceries from staples like bread and milk to artisan cheeses and locally made chocolates. The store, which is 1,800 square feet in size, requires shoppers to have Amazon accounts, supported smartphones, and the Amazon Go app.
Despite the potential for widespread application, the company has so far not said that it plans to build more Amazon Go grocery stores or license the technology so that it can be implemented by other retailers. That strategy represents a marked difference from other recent payment technologies, such as Apple Pay from Apple, which has worked hard to convince a variety of retailers to adopt its payment technology.