On Monday Amazon announced their long anticipated move into bricks and mortar grocery (we use bricks and mortar pretty loosely in this case). We spotted their patent applications early on for this model and you can see them here.
Currently in beta testing in Seattle, it’s due to be available for the public to use in early 2017. The test store is 1,800 square feet and currently stocks perishable groceries, pre-made meals and snacks.
So what’s so interesting about this concept?
It’s seamless. Customers walk in, pick up the food they want to buy and walks out! Sounds like the ultimate grocery experience to us. No lines, no fuss.
So how does it work?
Through an app called Amazon Go (same name as the store). Through sensors, computer vision and deep learning (the buzzwords of the moment – see the patents for more information on the tech behind this), they can track customers as they move about the store, and automatically register the product that gets picked up. This is then charged back through their Amazon account as they leave the store. As an FYI if the customer puts down a product before they leave that’s deducted from the bill.
We know they’ll have teething problems (hence the test in Beta), but this is a business truely living their vision to be customer-centric. They are taking a thought leadership position…which no doubt their competitors will be watching and quick to follow – which can only be a good thing for us as consumers.
If you want to see some more, here’s the hype video on Amazon Go.