Recently, while watching a short video clip saw a little girl walk into a store, picked up a doll then checked out of the store by scanning the item with her wrist-worn device, and walk out. This is a clear reminder of Amazon Go and the future is now.
Thankfully, it looks like we’ll only have to wait a few more years for this to be our reality. Amazon reportedly plans to open roughly 3,000 of its cashier-less Amazon Go convenience stores by 2021, according to Bloomberg. Called Amazon Go, the store features what Amazon calls “just walk out” technology, using sensors and cameras to track what customers take off shelves and out of the store, then charging them through Amazon’s app. That’s an insane expansion and an aggressive move into physical retail, especially at a time when most brick-and-mortar shops are struggling to keep up with online rivals.
The ecommerce giant revealed plans (and a trial store) for its futuristic stores back in 2016, and opened the first Amazon Go location to the public in Seattle this January. It’s added two more stores in the city, as well as one in Chicago just this month.
There are plans to open six more by the end of the year, and up to 50 stores in 2019. At present, the two older locations have salads, sandwiches, snacks, and a small range of groceries; the newer ones don’t offer groceries at present.
Go stores works by giving the shoppers at Amazon Go the chance to simply to scan their phones or waist worn device which is loaded with the necessary companion app when they enter, and then grab the items they want, and leave. Smart sensors and computer vision tech help track what each person has picked up. They’re billed automatically through their Amazon accounts, and they don’t need to wait in line to pay for their purchases.
The idea is to open up stores in dense urban areas with large populations of young, well-to-do folks who are happy to pay a premium for high-quality meals on the go. If Amazon‘s plans plays out, it could eventually become one of the largest chains in the world. just under 7-Eleven and the parent company of Circle K, according to CSP, an industry publication. It would also give Amazon a much expanded footprint of physical stores in the US, adding to its more than 350 Whole Foods stores.