Tech giant Amazon says it will open a convenience store in downtown Seattle that eschews a core element of the shopping experience: the cashier.
Using technologies similar to what powers self-driving cars, the store lets visitors walk in, grab anything they want and walk out – all without passing a cash register or even fumbling with a credit card. Visitors use an app on their phone to scan in as they enter the store called ‘Amazon Go’. According to the company website, the store features a series of technologies called ‘computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning.’ The so-called ‘Just Walk Out’ technology tracks what products are taken off shelves (or whether you decide to put that cupcake back), totals up the bill and charges each visitor shortly after they leave the store.
The flagship 1800 sq ft store in Seattle is the company’s latest move to dismantle traditional brick-and-mortar shopping experiences, which first began with bookstores and is rumoured to be grocery stores next: the company is secretly rolling out drive-through groceries stores as well.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, cashiers are the second-largest occupation (after retail salespersons), comprising a total of 3.5 million people in the United States. Analysts say the new store is part of Amazon’s larger expansion into the grocery business, which makes up almost $800 billion of the total US retail industry. The Wall Street Journal reports that the once-digital retail giant could open over 2000 locations.The company says the new shopping model will eliminate lines and checkout wait times.
The Seattle store will be located at 2131 7th Ave, and it’s expected to open in early 2017.