Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to go into a grocery store, load your basket, and walk out without having to wait in line or check out? When you walk into an Amazon Go store, you do exactly that, and it’s quite amazing technology. Here’s how Amazon Go stores function, as well as why you should care.
So, what are “Amazon Go” Stores, exactly?
Amazon Go is a “brick and mortar” grocery store concept that allows you to stroll in, get what you need, and go without having to go through the regular checkout process. There will be no cashiers inquiring, “So, whatcha up to today?” and, most importantly, there are no lines.
Simply download the Amazon Go app for free, scan it as you enter, and they’ll keep track of everything you buy and charge your Amazon account as you leave.
You can put your phone away after scanning the app and entering the store because you won’t need it again.
Where Are Amazon Go Stores Currently?
The Amazon Go rollout began in Seattle in 2016 and has already expanded to nine locations as of this writing. They have stores in Chicago (3) and San Francisco (4), in addition to Seattle (4). (2). There are two more in the works.
The majority of them are currently placed in crowded financial districts where workers need a quick lunch or snack. Many Amazon Go sites are closed on weekends, demonstrating this.
What Products Do They Carry?
Consider Amazon Go as a form of “corner market” store. Dairy, bread, candies, drinks, snacks, coffee, and personal hygiene products are all available.
The premade breakfast, lunch, and supper foods are, however, their most popular segment. The majority come from local restaurants and providers that shoppers are familiar with and know are delicious. They do, however, bring alcohol. Before approaching the booze part of the store, be prepared to produce your ID to an employee.
Also, when buying at an Amazon Go location, be sure to hit the Discover tab in the app to see exactly what the store has to offer.
What About Amazon Go Prices?
The costs aren’t excessive; in fact, they’re rather fair. For $6.49, you may purchase a nice wrap, $1.29 for a bag of chips, and $.99 for a bottle of water, for example. For a short lunch, that’s far under $10. It’s not bad.
Will the prices be lower than at a big-box food store? Not usually, but the principle of “time is money” makes Amazon Go a winner for many people on the go.
Expect prices to reduce when Amazon opens additional “Go” stores and fine-tunes the technology and figures out how to pass on even more savings to you.
Do You Need to be a Prime Member?
Not at all. Amazon Go is available to all customers, including those who do not have a Prime subscription.
To download the app, all you need is an Amazon account and a smartphone.
How Accurate is the Technology?
It’s so accurate, in fact, that if you leave an Amazon Go location with anything you weren’t charged for, Amazon says it’s on them and you may KEEP it. Not only are cameras everywhere, but they also keep track of what you pick up and take, as well as what you pick up, stare at, and then put back.
The prepackaged food items have Amazon Go barcodes, but the rest of the things don’t, which is quite amazing.
Amazon has been tight-lipped about the specifics of how the stores operate, but they are definitely employing machine vision and deep learning to track what you grab.
Why Should You Care About This?
Simply put, it’s because it’s the future. Do you recall when Amazon bought Whole Foods in 2017? It was no coincidence that this happened shortly after Seattle’s first Amazon Go store opened.
Amazon is expected to bring this technology to Whole Foods in the not-too-distant future.
It may not be available across the store at first, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was in the next few years.
Amazon is at the vanguard of this line-free technology, which represents the future of “brick and mortar” purchasing.
How About Data Concerns?
When you enter an Amazon Go location, you can sure that data collecting begins immediately. They’re keeping track of what you buy, what you look at (and how long you look at it), and how you move throughout the store.
Data that is used to develop their stores and technologies in order to provide you with better service. This data collection may appear to be a little “big brotherish,” but it’s the price you pay to use Amazon Go….your choice.