Amazon Debuts New Stores Where You Literally Grab and Go

Grace Felder, Staff Reporter

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When you’re at the grocery store, with your hands full of food, the last thing you want to do is wait in a long line. While many stores have self-checkouts, Amazon is taking things one step further. They are introducing a grocery store in Seattle that allows for customers to literally grab and go.

However, the public will have to wait a few more months to be able to experience this new way of shopping. Currently there is only one 1,800 square-foot test store in Seattle, but it is not open to just anyone. Right now only Amazon workers can shop at this special store, as it is still being beta tested. It is predicted to open to the public in early 2017, but no specific date has been set.

Amazon recently released a video with information about the grab-and-go style of shopping. According to this video, all customers would have to do to shop at one of these stores is download a free app called Amazon Go. This app will connect to your Amazon account and there you will choose your payment method. Then once you walk into the store, you open up the app, scan your phone, and keep on shopping like you would in a normal grocery store. Once you pick up an item and put it in your bag, it is automatically added to your virtual shopping cart. If you don’t want an item you already picked up, just put it back where it came from and it will be removed from your virtual shopping cart.

This part of the shopping experience is dependent on very advanced technology similar to what a self-driving car uses. According to the video this includes things like computer vision, deep learning algorithms, and sensor fusion. All of this is made possible by a sophisticated network of hundreds of cameras and other sensors in each store.

Once you finish shopping, you can just walk out. Your bill will be charged to your Amazon account, and your receipt can be found on the app. These stores will offer ready-to-eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. All of these meals are made by on-site chefs, local bakeries and kitchens. They will also sell essential grocery store items such as bread, milk and eggs.

All of this sounds great, but of course there are a few issues that are yet to be solved. Some of these potential issues include how to check for identification when alcohol is being bought and how to prevent shoplifting. Another major issue that would have to be considered and would come as a result of this change would be the loss of cashier jobs.

Amazon plans to open as many as 2,000 of these grocery stores in the near future. However, there are no specific details yet about where these stores will open up. This new way of grocery shopping is representative of the future where humans rely on new technology to replace jobs that were previously done by people. It seems like many companies are using technology to save time and revolutionize the workforce, and some may argue that Amazon has been one of the leaders at the forefront of the movement. Amazon’s new method of shopping is the first of its kind, and it’ll be interesting to see how this will affect the way we shop in the future.

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What do you think about Amazon Go? Would you use this way of shopping? Let us know in the comments below!

Creative Commons photo source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/catr/2443946244/