Alright, so it’s Friday evening right after work and you’ve run low on provisions yet again maybe the grocery store is packed to the gills with customers and even the self-check outlines are long or maybe you have to buy something that you’d rather not anyone see you leaving the store with. So wouldn’t it be nice to have a way around the crowds, the long wait, the vague sense of embarrassment you get when you had an 18 pack of toilet paper to the cashier?
Amazon Go – a new way to shop
Amazon Go is a new concept grocery store that allows you to walk in grab what you need or maybe some things you don’t and walk right out without any pesky human interaction and to be clear, it isn’t just a glorified place for you to pick up things you’ve already ordered like we’ve seen with Amazon’s locker system.
The only pre-visit setup is to download the Amazon Go app on your phone and link it to your Amazon account. When you walk inside you’ll scan your phone against a turnstile and when you’re all done shopping you just walk out. Amazon has even put up signs everywhere saying this exact thing turning just walked out into a slogan to sell customers on its simplicity.
But how exactly is an Amazon keeping track of what you buy?
Well, some of the inventory control features are fairly obvious like weight sensors under the products kind of like what you see in an overpriced hotel minibar that can detect when a box of cashews has been lifted off of them but unlike that system Amazon’s is smart enough that it won’t charge you if you put it back.
But much of the real magic actually happens above you so if you look up in the rafters you’ll see an array of hundreds of cameras and sensors not only keeping an eye on things but feeding information about customers moving around the store. The servers that use machine learning to determine exactly what you’ve put inside your a shopping bag or your backpack or whatever. Now, aside from saying that they don’t use facial recognition for this process and that some products are tagged with special patterns that help the cameras pick them out.
Why isn’t Amazon sharing how they manage Go store?
Amazon has been relatively silent about exactly how this process works, which makes it either a little magical or a little creepy depending on your perspective. One thing we have seen though is that it does appear that profiling a customer’s body shape and size is part of this special sauce as one of the issues that Amazon has engineered tangled with prior to launch was the system is taking one customer for another if they looked physically similar.
Now, these little imperfections mean that Amazon staffers are sold supervising all of this automation plus they need a surprisingly large number of human employees of the store to help customers prepare ready-to-eat meals and check ideas for those of you who want to partake in adult libations.
Where are Amazon Go stores?
Apparently, the state of Washington hasn’t decided is ready to trust computers to keep Smirnoff ice out of the hands of unsuspecting college pros. But wait, why am I specifically calling out Washington State?
Well, the only Amazon Go store currently open to the public is in downtown Seattle in one of the same buildings that house Amazon’s headquarters and Amazon has been cagey about providing details about his plan to expand to more locations in the future probably because outfitting a store like this not only requires a huge financial commitment up front but according to Amazon also a ton as computing resources to function properly.
So it won’t happen overnight but Amazon is betting that their new Amazon Go store might resemble the future of retail and there’s been lots of speculation that we might see.
Is it worthy to employees?
Tech employees at Whole Foods, which Amazon Now owns – an idea that’s already catching criticism for reasons from concerns about huge amounts of data mining to automation putting people out of work to making it easier to overspend. Well, Amazon Go isn’t getting great feedback from employees.