Today I went to the new Amazon Go, appropriately located at the base of their Seattle headquarters and a stone’s throw from the unmistakable spheres. Wikipedia labels Amazon Go as a grocery store. It is not. At best, it’s a bodega with no discernible personality. Which, I think is fine. Up until this very point in my life, popping into a c-store most likely meant I was either in search of some sort of provision, or felt like trying my hand at the Powerball. Today was nothing of the sort. Today was all about stepping inside of the Amazon tent, and experiencing their latest sideshow for myself.
Depending on which direction down 7th Avenue you’re coming, the first thing you’ll notice is an intentionally positioned open air kitchen, visible mission statement and all, where the fresh fare is being prepped and packaged. Upon shuffling in you are immediately met by a wall of said salads and sandwiches. Turn to the left and you’ll have your choice of beverage, from Pellegrino to Pom. Turn to the right and you’ll find yourself in a more traditional larder, complete with a modest section for spirits. Manned, of course.
It’s not, however, the edible knick knacks, that are attracting visitors as much as the technology upon which the entire location operates.
Although Amazon won’t give away all of their secrets, they acknowledge that their “walk out” technology consists of hundreds of small cameras strategically positioned throughout the store, deploying refined computer vision, machine learning and sensor fusion to ensure a seamless customer experience. Beyond the constant feeling of being “machine learned,” any personal interaction with the innovative space, however, starts and stops exclusively with the downloading of the dedicated Amazon Go app and running it over a futuristic baffle gate upon entry. Beyond that, everything happens harmoniously in the background. And that, perhaps, is what makes this place truly remarkable. Amazon has managed to do away with long checkout lines and potentially frustrating interactions with unengaged employees, yet successfully preserve the banal nature of visiting a convenient store despite the introduction of an incredible amount of complicated technology.
If you’ve ever wanted to feel the rush of shoplifting without actually having to break the law, or you just need to grab a new toothbrush, you might want to check this place out.
Amazon Go is just one of many existing autonomous retail concepts and points to the ever-changing retail landscape of which brands must be mindful when developing product and sales strategies. Contact us to learn how your brand can capitalize on the cashier-free shopping experience.