Published: Mon, January 22, 2018
Hi-Tech | By Preston Stone

Amazon Go Cashier-Less Convenience Store to Open Monday

Amazon Go Cashier-Less Convenience Store to Open Monday

For grocers, the store's opening heralds another potential disruption at the hands of the world's largest online retailer, which bought high-end supermarket chain Whole Foods Market previous year for US$13.7 billion.

The technology comes as huge changes are already rocking the grocery business, including Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods, plus rising numbers of customers who want to order online and have their groceries delivered and shifting tastes that have pushed stores to stock more organic and locally-grown items.

The store, located in downtown Seattle, was unveiled back in late 2016 but had only been open to Amazon employees testing the technology. It was originally scheduled to open to the public in early 2017 but was delayed in part due to the complexity of the technology.

GeekWire's Todd Bishop checking out the Amazon Go high-tech retail store in Seattle this past week.

According to a person familiar with the matter, there have been problems. When you're finished collecting your items, just walk out of the store.

The address of the Amazon Go store in Seattle is 2131 7 Avenue. "This is Netflix replacing Blockbuster, this is Uber replacing taxis", said Brendan Witcher, principal analyst with Forrester Research, who shopped in the store last week. "It was really advancing the state of the art of computer vision and machine learning".

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Inside is an 1,800-square foot mini-market packed with shelves of food that you can find in a lot of other convenience stores - soda, potato chips, ketchup. Those are cameras and they are all over the store.

Customers scan their smartphone on the way in the door.

Ready-to-eat lunch items greet shoppers when they enter. An Amazon employee checks IDs in the store's wine and beer section. Photo taken January 18, 2018. After shoppers check in by scanning their unique QR code, overhead cameras work with weight sensors in the shelves to precisely track which items they pick up and take with them. Customers will need to download the Amazon Go app, available Monday for iPhone and Android, and log in to the app with their normal Amazon accounts to gain access. The sensors add items to the bill as customers select them - and deletes any returned to the shelves.

A shopper is seen using his phone in the line-free store.

The interior of the Amazon Go store looks pretty much like any higher-end convenience store.

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