Amazon opens first checkout-free store

REUTERS

REUTERS

Gianna Puerini, the executive in charge of Amazon Go, recently gave tours of the store, in downtown Seattle.

However, unlike other physical shops, it doesn't have any registers.

Meanwhile, NEC showed cameras used for identifying specific customers and tracking them as they travel the store aisles, providing targeted messaging to them on screen displays in the store.

Amazon now has more than a dozen Amazon Books stores, which also sell toys, electronics and small gifts.

Most people who spend any time in a supermarket understand how vexing the checkout process can be, with clogged lines for cashiers and customers who fumble with self-checkout kiosks.

We asked ourselves: what if we could create a shopping experience with no lines and no checkout?

What happens is that you need to download the Amazon Go app on your phone and enter all the necessary details.

The Amazon Go store that appeared in a video by the company back in 2016 will finally open its doors to the public on Monday.

Of course, even if Amazon Go becomes the latest Amazon effort to disrupt the industry, it doesn't mean that it's the Future with a capital "f".

Ready-to-eat lunch items greet shoppers when they enter. The selection of grocery essentials ranges from staples like bread and milk to artisan cheeses and locally made chocolates. "On the rare occasion, if you were to find an error, we make it super easy to do a self-service return". It also has some food usually found at Whole Foods, the supermarket chain that Amazon owns. Maybe they can go work as migrant contractors in an Amazon warehouse instead! It won't say whether it plans to open more Amazon Go stores, or leave this as a one-of-a-kind novelty. When they leave, their shopping is automatically billed to their account.

Brian Olsavsky, Amazon chief financial officer, recently hinted that rivals should expect more Amazon shops in the months and years ahead.

It has space in some Kohl's stores, and small shops in several United States malls.

Sleek black cameras monitoring from above and weight sensors in the shelves help Amazon determine exactly what people take. It'll be interesting to see whether Amazon can successfully prevent stopping theft and fraud. Clearly, the Go store is a step up from the self-checkout system that other retailers practice.

That's pretty powerful. The technology, a complex system that functions transparently and simply, is now ready for prime time, Sheldon said.

Targeted messaging via facial recognition is a major marketing goal here. The technology behind it has been tested for one year. From there, a series of advanced cameras and sensors tracks everything they pick up and set down.

The store is located at 2131 7th Ave. near the corner of Blanchard Street, less than a mile from Pike Place Market and the e-commerce giant's headquarters.

Ars' Sam Machkovech will be visiting Amazon Go in Seattle today and will report back with his experience.

When will Amazon Go be available? Amazon said it had such an enthusiastic response from employees, it didn't need to open the beta to the public.

What's next for Amazon Go? It could then license the tech to other stores and make money from it.

"This technology didn't exist", Puerini said, walking through the Seattle store.

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