Standing in a long-ass checkout line at the grocery store when literally all you need is a package of Oreos/quart of almond milk/single head of garlic is awfully frustrating. At the grocery store of the future, such situations will be a thing of the past — and it’s already arrived in Seattle, courtesy of — who else? — Amazon.
This morning the retail giant unveiled Amazon Go, a new mini-grocery store in its hometown where shoppers can simply pick up the items they want and walk out — no waiting in line or credit card-swiping required.
When entering the store, shoppers simply scan an app on their phones, then Amazon Go uses a combination of “computer vision” and “sensor fusion” to track what they’re picking up (and putting back). As The Verge notes, “It’ll feel like shoplifting, except you’re actually being watched by more cameras than you can imagine.” After a customer walks out with their selections, their Amazon account will be charged accordingly.
A video demonstrates the technology in all its glory (hey, Amazon — why can’t it be a dude who’s hemming and hawing over whether or not they should buy a cupcake?):
The 1,800 square-foot market carries staples like bread and milk, plus fancy cheeses and chocolates and ready-to-eat, grab-and-go items — as well as Amazon’s very own meal kits, a collaboration with food giant Tyson.
As The Verge reports, “The store is currently open in beta to Amazon employees only.” It’s expected to open to the public in early 2017. Will Amazon spread its cashier-less stores far and wide, and/or encourage other established grocers to experiment with “just walk out” technology? With Americans now spending more at restaurants than grocery stores, perhaps removing barriers like annoying checkout lines could encourage people to return to shopping and cooking for themselves.
In the meantime, the company continues its quest to compete in the global food delivery sphere: Earlier this fall it expanded its restaurant delivery service into London, its first market outside the U.S.
• Amazon Go [Official]
• Amazon Just Launched a Cashier-Free Convenience Store [The Verge]
• Amazon Will Launch Meal Kit Delivery This Fall [E]
• All Food Tech Coverage [E]