Amazon Go opens to Seattle public

The Seattle Amazon Go shop, where shoppers can buy goods without stopping at a checkout, has opened to the public today. It had been open only to Amazon employees for more than a year in its site below Amazon’s offices in Seattle.

Amazon’s chief technology officer for Amazon Go Dili Kumar is reported to have said that in looking to disrupt the convenience store market, “What can we do to improve on convenience? What we always came back to was people don’t like waiting in line.”

The new Amazon Go store has a range of sensors and cameras that help detect what customers have picked up from the shelves in the store. Customers who have come into the shop have to ‘check in’ at the door so the background computer system can access their Amazon account and then track their movements in the shop.

Contrary to popular understanding, these stores are not ‘staffless’ – they have people there to make sure that under age people don’t pick up alcohol for example, as well as a security guard to ensure that only those who have checked in can walk out with their goods.
Amazon Go is not the first bricks-and-mortar shop the online giant runs. It runs a number of bookstores around the US and was one of the first e-commerce companies to publicly bring about the concept of ‘clicks-and-bricks’ with e-commerce complementing its online presence. However, Kumar has expressly stated that for now at least, “There are no plans to…introduce this technology in any of the other physical settings that we have.”

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