Amazon Shows Future of Offline Shopping; Opens ‘Amazon Go’ Grocery Store with Automated Checkout
Amazon is planning to bring about the biggest revolution that has happened to shopping by starting its own physical grocery stores called ‘Amazon Go’. These stores are the e-commerce giant’s answer to the slow checkout and cumbersome shopping experience at the grocery stores.
The first ‘Amazon Go’ store, a traditional but modernised brick-and-mortar store has been opened at Seattle. The key attraction of the store is the fact that there are no lines and checkout counters.
This store spans 1,800 square feet and uses the latest in computer vision, deep learning algorithms, and a sensor array. As a result the shoppers can pick up whatever item they like and just walk out.
How ‘Amazon Go’ Works?
The shopper uses the QR code generated by the Amazon Go app to enter the store, and continues with shopping. Anything that the shopper picks up will be added to his/her virtual cart. The interesting part about this virtual cart is that it will get updated in real-time.
For.e.g.: If you pick up a jar of mixed fruit jam, then it will automatically get added to your virtual cart, but for some reason if you replace it with mango jam, or a pickle, then your cart will know about it automatically.
The process is based on computer vision, deep learning algorithms, and sensor fusion, which is similar to what we find in the modern self-driving cars. Amazon is calling this ‘Just Walk Out Technology’. When the shopper walks out of the ‘Amazon Go’ store then his/her Amazon account is charged based on the items present in the virtual cart.
Amazon Go Marks Amazon’s Entry Into Groceries
Amazon might be the biggest player in the retail e-commerce business, but it still hasn’t mastered the groceries segment, the biggest category in retail. Currently, Amazon is a relatively smaller player in the groceries segment, and delivers fresh items to the homes with “AmazonFresh” service.
“It’s a great recognition that their e-commerce model doesn’t work for every product,” said Jan Dawson, Analyst, Jackdaw Research. He also mentioned these physical stores would complement AmazonFresh and would also pose a huge threat to the supermarket chains in future.
As of now, ‘Amazon Go’ is open only to the Amazon employees and would be open to the masses by Early 2017. Amazon is also considering other store formats, and plans to open more than 2,000 such stores if the tests are successful, reported Wall Street Journal.
Checkout lines are the most hectic and inefficient part of any store. So automating the checkout process would not only make it more efficient, but would also make it easier and more satisfying for the shoppers.
“Not only would you save a lot on labor costs, you actually would make the process much quicker for consumers and much more satisfying,” said Neil Saunders, MD, Conlumino, a retail research firm.
‘Amazon Go’ apart from selling bread and milk, would also sell ready-to-eat meals made by on-site chefs, local kitchens, and bakeries.
‘Amazon Go’ stores are still under testing, but if successful, they will give a tough competition to pick-up food chains, and supermarkets.
What are your thoughts about it? Do you think such kind of stores would be successful in India?