Imagine a world where you could walk into a store, pick something off the shelf, and just walk out with it—and it wasn't classed as stealing. That's what Amazon want you to do as they reveal their plans for Amazon Go. Which is a store that features no checkout and no lines. Sounds like a weird idea, right?
Well, instead of having a checkout counter you scan your Amazon app on your phone on the way in by holding it against a sensor. That signs you in and then everything is automated through various technologies. Pick what you want off the shelf and its added to your virtual cart.
If you decide actually you don't want it, you put it back on the shelf and it's taken out of the cart. Once you're done shopping for groceries you then just walk out. Your Amazon account will then be charged with whatever you took. Sounds brilliant, but what happens if your phone dies while you are shopping?
"Our checkout-free shopping experience is made possible by the same types of technologies used in self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning." say the company. "Our Just Walk Out technology automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart. When you’re done shopping, you can just leave the store. Shortly after, we’ll charge your Amazon account and send you a receipt."
The project was started by Amazon four years ago when Amazon wanted to create a shopping experience with no lines or checkout. As for what you can buy in the 1,800 square feet retail space, products include "ready-to-eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack options made fresh every day by our on-site chefs and favorite local kitchens and bakeries. Our selection of grocery essentials ranges from staples like bread and milk to artisan cheeses and locally made chocolates. You’ll find well-known brands we love, plus special finds we’re excited to introduce to customers. For a quick home-cooked dinner, pick up one of our chef-designed Amazon Meal Kits, with all the ingredients you need to make a meal for two in about 30 minutes."
The first Amazon Go store will open to the public in 2017 at 2131 7th Ave, Seattle, WA. According to the WSJ the company plan to eventually open a chain of 2,000 of them.
But not everyone was taken with the idea of checkout-less shopping, many people pointing out that it's an idea that could make cashiers jobless. It's something that could happen across many industries as jobs become automated. While other people pointed out it's asking for goods to be stolen.
When the store opens next year, people can make their own judgement if it's the end times or not by visiting it. Meanwhile, check out some of the reactions on Twitter below.