Online retail giant Amazon recently opened the doors to its latest venture, a convenience store without checkout tills to the public. Known as Amazon Go, the stores offer a surveillance based system that does away with tills and cashiers to offer a seamless retail experience. Amazon allowed a handful of tech reporters into its Amazon Go store prior to its public launch. Consequently their feedback makes for intriguing reading. Customers literally walk in, choose what they want, and simply walk out again.
Amazon Go: The Store of the Future?
Outside the Amazon Go store. image credit cnet.comThe whole Amazon Go system is powered by hundreds of surveillance cameras and artificial intelligence. As a result this first Amazon Go store may be a glimpse of the future of shopping. Any product bought, or taken, in the store is automatically charged to your Amazon account. Amazon customers with the corresponding Amazon Go app simply scan their device at the subway-like entrance gates to enter and start shopping.
There are no tills or cashiers throughout the store whatsoever. However, the shop does have staff present to help with any issues customers may have.
And for anyone who thinks they may be able to outwit the system, think again. First, Amazon seems to have a robust deterrent to shoplifting with its cameras. Second, the stores are also manned by employees. In addition, there are sensors that know the exact weight of every product and know when something is moved.
The company is using hundreds of cameras as well as the weight sensors on shelves to track each and every item in the store. The cameras also track every customer’s move while they’re in the store. In addition, the system constantly adds and removes items in your basket as you shop.
Future Retail Experiences and Privacy
During the stores preview by the invited tech hacks, the issues of privacy and surveillance become glaringly obvious.
However, the previews also give us the first images of the new store for those unable to visit in person.
Lots of debate still occurs over the amount, and how, our information is handled by various tech giants.
Amazon’s new store now goes one step further. In addition to collecting information on our online shopping habits, the Amazon can now watch us in real life. And so it has to be said the company will now get even more information on its customers.
However, it follows that anyone entering the store does so of their own free will and is fine with being monitored. On the other hand, anyone uncomfortable with how the system works can simply abstain. Still, no matter what you think about a surveillance- powered convenience store, Amazon Go may just be our first glimpse the retail experiences of the future.
Finally, Amazon is now also the owner of Whole Foods. It is unclear at the moment if the online shopping giant will bring its Amazon go experience to any of the stores in its supermarket chain.
What are your thoughts on the Amazon Go store and its implications for future retail experiences? – Give us a shout in the comments section below!
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