Seattle-based e-commerce giant Amazon.com has unveiled a brick-and-mortar store that allows shoppers to check in via a mobile app, take the products they want and automatically pay upon leaving, all without scanning barcodes or waiting in checkout lines.
The new store, Amazon Go, offers a checkout-free experience to Amazon account holders, made possible by the same technology used in self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning. The Just Walk Out technology integrated into the store automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to shelves, and keeps track of the items in a virtual cart. Shoppers check in by scanning a barcode on a dedicated mobile app, and, upon leaving, are charged via their Amazon account.
Products offered in the store include ready-to-eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack options, all made fresh daily by on-site chefs and local kitchens and bakeries. Grocery essentials range from staples such as bread and milk to artisan cheeses and locally made chocolates, as well as chef-designed Amazon Meal Kits, offering all ingredients necessary to make a meal for two in a half-hour. Shoppers will find both well-known brands and “special finds” on shelves.
“Four years ago, we asked ourselves: What if we could create a shopping experience with no lines and no checkout?” Amazon said. “Could we push the boundaries of computer vision and machine learning to create a store where customers could simply take what they want and go? Our answer to those questions is Amazon Go and Just Walk Out Shopping.”
The current Amazon Go store is roughly 1,800 square feet and open to Amazon employees in the company's Beta program. Located at 2131 7th Ave. in Seattle, it will open to the public in early 2017.
The news comes following an October BusinessInsider.com report that Amazon plans to open 20 brick-and-mortar grocery stores during the next two years under the Amazon Fresh banner. According to the report, the U.S. grocery market could accommodate up to 2,000 of the locations over the next decade.