While the rest of us wait on the pay lines during our grocery shopping on Sunday nights, the people of Seattle anxiously await tomorrow's public opening of the first store to eliminate the need for cashiers. The long-awaited Amazon Go grocery store will open its doors to the public on Monday, January 22. The store driven by artificial intelligence encountered several challenges on the way to completion, which delayed its launch in almost a year. After overcoming the problems and successfully testing the store's technology among reviewers and employees, it appears that Amazon is finally ready to serve the masses with its automatic showcase.
How does it work?
Before entering the Amazon Go store, a buyer must download the free Amazon application and link it to his Amazon shopping account. The application was launched today and is available for iPhone and Android devices. Once a buyer has the application, they can use their mobile device to register using a QR code in the store before entering the sales floor. By registering using the application, the shop's AI can track the items a buyer collects. When your purchases are completed, a customer can simply leave the store and the total value of their purchases will be charged to your Amazon account.
Although the company has kept the internal workings of AI's sophisticated software secret, Amazon Go's vice president of technology, Dilip Kumar, gave Fast Company a general explanation of how it works. Kumar says: "You use machine learning and you use computer vision in a way that makes this experience perfect. We've spent a lot of time discovering how to make our algorithms and our sensors reliable, highly available and very efficient so you can do things well and we are very precise. "
Despite Amazon's attempts to conceal the presence of the store's consumer tracking AI, those who participated in the testing and review processes say that the roof full of black cameras offers a not-so-subtle reminder of the technology that runs behind the scenes.
What can you buy?
The goal of Amazon Go is to provide fast, fresh and affordable food for busy shoppers. The company hopes to help consumers move away from processed and frozen products when they are in a time crisis. This is the reason why the current selection of items to buy is limited compared to what you would find in a standard grocery store. For example, you will find basic foods such as bread and milk in the Amazon store, but not a complete bakery or dairy aisle.
The convenience lies in the core of Amazon Go, but not in the traditional way you would expect from a gas station or a corner store. Buyers can look for a variety of ready meals and Amazon Meal Kits to take home all they need to enjoy a quality meal prepared by the chef in 30 minutes or less.
The launch of the first Go Store represents the beginning of the first round of Amazon consumer testing. As of now, the retailer has no plans to expand the technology to Whole Foods stores. In an interview with Reuters, Gianna Peurini, vice president of Amazon Go, said that "we'd love to open more," but Amazon has not yet announced additional locations.
It seems appropriate that the Seattle-based company will launch its first automated supermarket in its hometown. If all goes well, it is safe to assume that there will be more places to come. The question at that time is: Which city will be the next to move towards the future of automatic grocery shopping?