Amazon Just Showcased The Future Of Retail Shopping

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Amazon has just given us a peek at the future of retail shopping as it sees it and it is pretty revolutionary. There are no lines, no cashiers, no self-checkout systems or anything. You go to the store, pick up what you need and then walk out.

Amazon Go, as the company is calling the stores, is an 1800 square foot convenience store based in the company’s hometown, Seattle. The store is expected to stock everyday items like snacks, ready to eat meals,  drinks etc.

Rest assured, though, Amazon is not just hoping that the honor system will be enough to encourage people to pay for what they take! The stores will be covered by a battery of cameras and powered by the very latest in AI and machine learning.

The idea is that people will scan their Amazon app as they walk through the door and then the products will keep getting added to their ‘cart’ as they pick up the stuff that they need. Once they walk out of the store, they will automatically be charged for the things that they have purchased.

It is also easy to see how Amazon can use the information gathered from shopping behaviors in-store to better target prospective shoppers with deals and offers. The computer vision and AI being deployed are smart enough to distinguish between something that has been picked up from the shelf and put inside the bag, to something that was picked up, perused and then put back.

Information about where the shoppers spent most of their time or lingered for more than normal will also be collected. Automation has been one of the big agendas that Amazon is pushing and this is another example where traditional human jobs such as the cashier, security or just manning the store will be replaced by AI and machine learning.

It is not difficult to see that Amazon will soon be able to supply these stores by drones and maybe even have them stocked by in-store robots, thus cutting humans out of the equation completely. Could the ideal shopping experience be one where no human interaction is needed? Possibly.

The store is currently in ‘beta’ stage and will be open to employees only. It should be open to the public somewhere in early 2017.

 

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