Amazon Go is a grocery store operated by the online retailer Amazon, with currently one location in Seattle, Washington. It is partially-automated, with customers able to purchase products without using a cashier or checkout station.
How does Amazon Go work?
Our checkout-free shopping experience is made possible by the same types of technologies used in self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning. Our Just Walk Out Technology automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart. When you’re done shopping, you can just leave the store. Shortly after, we’ll send you a receipt and charge your Amazon account.
YOU CAN’T GET IN WITHOUT THE APP
The store doesn’t have a typical entrance. Instead of entering an open shopping space, visitors first have to pass through automatic gates that resemble the ones that you have to pass through to get into a subway station. To enter, you need to open up the Amazon Go app on your phone and scan your unique code. Once you’re in the store, Amazon’s AI will track the items you pick up and add them to your virtual cart, charging you for them when you leave.
There are cameras everywhere.
The ceilings are covered with some serious surveillance — AKA a “highly accurate” camera system that monitors your every shopping move to help determine what you’re taking off shelves and walking out of the store with.
In its report on the opening The Wall Street Journal reported that this first location was one of at least three Amazon planned to open, each of which was in a different format. In October 2016, the Business Insider reported they had seen internal Amazon documents that described Amazon opening up as many as 2,000 stores, over the next ten years. Amazon spokesmen refuted the reports of 2,000 stores, insisting they were still learning.The Business Insider predicted that Amazon was likely to open only twenty or so stores, during the next two years.
The Verge reported this first store was scheduled to open to the public in early January 2017; its December 2016 opening was a Beta version for Amazon employees only. The first store was only 1,800 square feet, the size of a corner convenience store. The other test stores will be larger. By October 2017, the store had yet to open due to issues with the technology tracking over 20 people at one time.
The store opened to the public on January 22, 2018. In addition to stocking name brands and local brands, the store sells many of Amazon’s house brands, such as Wickedly Prime and 365. Food stamps (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), which is public assistance for low income persons, are not accepted nor are customers who do not have later model smartphones or smartphones that do not have the Amazon Go app downloaded.
When can I visit?
open in 7AM—9PM, Monday through Friday.
What’s next for Amazon Go?
Amazon hasn’t officially confirmed if it is planning more stores yet, nor has it really detailed what’s next, but we could see Amazon using its first Amazon Go storefront to better develop the Just Walk Out technology. It could then license the tech to other stores and make money from it. If the tech gets good enough, it could ideally put an end to retail theft, because when you try to walk out of a store with a stolen item, you’d still be charged.