January 22, 2018

Modern Retail in the Age of Amazon – 2

From Recode:

… the store’s real reason for being is to test what could be a breakthrough Amazon hypothesis: that by adding even more convenience to the convenience store model — with the help of a healthy dose of technology — Amazon might be able to carve out a loyal customer base outside of its website and inside a physical store where the vast majority of food and grocery shopping still occurs.

To that end, Amazon Go is outfitted with a cocktail of modern technology that enables shoppers to simply grab items off of shelves and automatically get charged the right amount without stopping to pay upon exit. No lines, no waiting.

While that means no cashiers are necessary, there are still people working at the store. On a recent visit, a greeter stood by the entrance, an ID checker was stationed near the booze, and at least six workers were visible inside the kitchen that passersby can view from the street. …

Shoppers need to download an Amazon Go app to their smartphone, and scan it at a high-tech turnstile upon entering the store.

After that, customers shop like they normally would, except for one crucial exception: when they’ve selected everything they want to purchase, they simply leave the store with the items and don’t stop to pay. If the store’s technology works as it should, their Amazon account is automatically charged for the right stuff they took as soon as they exit.

How? The store is outfitted with cameras and shelf sensors to help Amazon’s computer vision system work some magic. The technologies, in turn, connect you and the phone you scanned at the entrance with the items you grabbed off of shelves and carried out the door. On rare occasions, a human is needed to confirm that the technology got it right. …

Looking ahead, you can bet that Amazon didn’t spend five years building this technology to only use it in one store. … What about rolling out the technology to Whole Foods or Amazon Books locations, as many have speculated the company would do?

“There are no plans to … introduce this technology in any of the other physical settings that we have.”

Posted in


If you love this region and have a view to its future please subscribe, donate, or become a Patron.

Share on


  1. See the related story in the Province and Vancouver Sun of the ramen restaurant that won’t accept cash.
    When asked what happens if the internet goes down – the restaurant manager commented that everyone east for free!
    I wonder if the Amazon store’s system is also internet dependant?

    1. While in the Netherlands last summer, we shopped at a grocery chain (owned by Loblaws) which took only cash. We also encountered another grocery store in the same chain but with slightly different branding which only accepted credit cards. Very confusing. Good point about internet being down. Free groceries?

  2. It shows that inventions almost always come from entrepreneurs, rarely from overpaying / status quo protecting governments.
    Another example of why min wage jobs will be scarcer and scarcer if wages are set too high.
    I bet BC Liquorstores will never sell liquor that way.
    I think it’s awesome as I hate waiting in line. It will be a huge success, like the Apple stores.