Amazon saw the launch of Amazon Go in Seattle, Washington on the 22nd of January 2018, which enables customers to swipe into the store, grab whatever items they need, and just, go. Amazon call it their Just Walk Out Shopping experience. Through the use of AI, and an army of face recognition cameras follows you around to enable the ‘Just Go’ experience works. With the slogan, ‘No lines, no checkouts. No seriously!’, Amazon Go is the first of its kind in smart retail, and will revolutionise shopping in years to come.
Now, with everything, there are advantages and disadvantages when it comes to technology at the fore front of their fields, and we wanted to take the time to highlight each, and take a deeper look into what Amazon Go is really about.
Obviously, the biggest advantage is time efficiency. The whole idea behind Amazon Go is that you grab what you need, and leave. Amazon Go veterans would be in and out in thirty seconds with the item that they wanted. In today’s fast paced society, it goes hand in hand with busy people. For those on a quick lunch break, or those running to catch a bus or needing to be somewhere quick. Knowing that you can grab lunch in thirty seconds is a great unique selling point.
We have all gone into a super market for something small, only to see the queue at the check outs and done a prompt U turn out of there. Amazon Go solves that problem.
There has already been an abundance of articles posted about people trying to trick Amazon into trying to steal from them, attempting to avoid items appearing on their receipt after leaving. In all cases, they have failed. It’s a no brainer that Amazon would have pulled out all the stops to avoid theft being a problem, especially with their unique business plan. The Just walk Out Technology automatically detects when an item is picked up, and replaced to the shelves. The cameras, location in store still unknown, will scan the barcode of the product, so it knows that you still have the item, and not mistaken you for someone else putting the same item back. These cameras can correctly detect a bar code even if it is mostly obscured, so quickly putting an item in your bag won’t cut it.
However, with the evolution of technology in our day to day lives, it is bound to usurp jobs. The job title, Cashier, is the second most common job in the States. With self-serving machines, like the ones commonly found throughout Europe and Japan, are hard to find in the US. The introduction of stores that are similar to Amazon Go, will ultimately result in a lot of workers being kicked out for technology. In the UK, when self-service machines were first being planned, people were afraid that it would result in a lot of people losing their jobs, and now we see the same fears resurrected here again.
Yes, the new technology shows just how innovation can really help us in our day to day lives, but there is a cost. In this case the financial cost. All of the technology used in Seattle’s Amazon Go store does not come cheap. Although I’m sure that Amazon will benefit from this in the long term, we wouldn’t be seeing Amazon Go stores outside of Seattle for a while. The self-service machines that we see in our Sainsbury’s and Tesco’s cost around £12,000 pounds in total. It is safe to say that all of the technology behind Amazon Go is a considerably larger amount.
The world of retail is looking at what Amazon is doing with Amazon Go, waiting to see whether it is a success or not. Regardless, from a technological point of view, it is incredibly exciting to see how well Amazon Go does in the coming months. Amazon continues to venture into the world of brick and mortar, with now over 12 Amazon book stores throughout the US, and with the acquisition of the store, Whole Foods, this is the next big hurdle for them to overcome. Wherever you stand on the technology taking over the man work force, it is undeniable that What Amazon have done will pave way for the future of retail.