Amazon Go goes live

Discussion
Photo: Getty Images
Jan 22, 2018
George Anderson

After nearly 14 months of testing its Amazon Go cash-free and cashier-less convenience concept with only its own employees, Amazon.com is ready to open the store to consumers in Seattle. Beginning today at 7:00 a.m. local time, the store will welcome any customers that have an Amazon Go app linked to an Amazon account.

As previously reported, the 1,800-square-foot store uses sensing technology that identifies customers using the Go app as they enter the location. When a shopper takes something off a shelf, the item is automatically added to their virtual shopping cart. Amazon bills the customers’ accounts when they leave the store and posts receipts to the app.

Concerns about the store’s ability to track and charge for purchases appear to have been answered to Amazon’s satisfaction. It was previously reported that the long test time for the Go store was related to problems with sensing technology when the location was crowded with shoppers.

Gianna Puerini, who is leading the Go project for Amazon, did not offer specifics, but said, “the system is highly accurate,” in an interview with The Seattle Times.

The store will offer everyday grocery staples such as bread and milk. It will also feature ready-to-eat meals and snacks made fresh on a daily basis by on-site chefs and local suppliers. Amazon Meal Kits will also be available for purchase.

Interest surrounding the store is largely due to its “just walk out” technology that bypasses the traditional retail checkout process. As of right now, Amazon is staying mum on plans to open further Go locations or export its checkout technology to Whole Foods.

In November, Bloomberg reported that Amazon had shifted from hiring engineers and research scientists for the project to construction managers and marketers, an indication the company is planning to build out the concept to other places.

DISSCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will Amazon Go be a hit with shoppers? Do you expect Amazon to expand the store concept? Will it bring the technology to Whole Foods, as well?

Braintrust
"What one-click purchases meant for online, Amazon Go will mean for physical retail."
"Margins in grocery are pretty tight. If inventory starts walking out the door unpaid for, how long can this model make economic sense?"
"Let’s be honest, this is the future of grocery retail. Automating the checkout process removes a significant cost center for grocers..."

Join the Discussion!

57 Comments on "Amazon Go goes live"


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Mark Ryski
BrainTrust

This is the future of retailing, but it’s still just an aspiration. Assuming high accuracy can be achieved, this will be a huge hit with consumers since checkout friction remains a constant source of customer dissatisfaction. While it is an important step for Amazon to be opening the Go concept to consumers, they are still very much in “launch-and-learn” mode. Expansion of the Go concept will obviously depend on the success of these early results, but one would expect that, if successful, they will expand. However, given the significantly more complex environment of Whole Foods, I wouldn’t expect to see this technology deployed there for years.

Art Suriano
BrainTrust

Amazon Go should have substantial success in the beginning if due to nothing more than customer curiosity. We love new technology, ideas and opportunities so that will drive customers to the store just to try it. If the customers like the products and convenience, they will continue to come back. However, if the technology is not perfected and causes problems for the customer that will be a significant setback for Amazon Go.

If successful, I would expect to see it rolled out to other locations such as Whole Foods once Amazon is confident the technology could handle the number of items and customer traffic.

Dick Seesel
BrainTrust

I assume the long gestation period was needed to test not only the technology but also the merchandise content. From the descriptions of Amazon Go, it is more focused on fresh and ready-to-eat food than a typical c-store and devotes less space to categories like candy, chips and so forth. It will be interesting to read some on-the-ground reporting about what the store actually looks and feels like.

I expect Amazon to be patient with the concept, because some customers simply won’t be comfortable right away with a cashier-less environment. At least for now, human interaction in any kind of store (including a c-store) is part of the equation unless you’re an early adapter of the Amazon Go tech experience.

Bob Amster
BrainTrust

It will be interesting to see if customers are more distrustful of being overcharged than the retailers are of customers trying to scam them.

Keith Anderson
BrainTrust

I suspect it will take several years before this technology is widely deployed, but Amazon has a great heritage of identifying purchase barriers and using technology to solve problems and improve customers’ experience.

Michael La Kier
BrainTrust

Anything we can do as an industry to make the shopper better and faster and help them be smarter is a very good thing. The question will be, how seamless is the technology and how expensive is it to scale?

Chris Petersen, PhD.
BrainTrust

There is little question that Amazon will make Go go. As the technology gets scaled, there are significant savings in reduced staffing costs. If there is a question, it will be how widespread the AI impact will be on retail staff employment. This could very well be tipping point in retailing where helpful associates on the floor become a major differentiator over faceless stores.

Charles Dimov
BrainTrust

Hit or not, this will change the face of grocery and retail shopping. Amazon has been great at pushing our paradigms and bringing in new technologies and methods — fast. It will take a while before this is mainstream. But the concept is now seeded in consumers’ minds. The next wave of expectations is here and retail needs to adapt again.

Before it goes out to Whole Foods, Amazon needs to figure out how grocery works — and preventing barren shelves is the first among many learning journeys. Welcome to the real physical world, Amazon. 😉

Shep Hyken
BrainTrust

Will Amazon Go be a hit with shoppers? YES! And more than anything, this technology will pave the way for other retailers to offer a similar customer experience. So why will shoppers like Amazon Go? It’s easier and more convenient. The friction point of standing in a checkout line is eliminated. The idea of having to reach in your wallet or purse to pull out cash, credit card or checkbook has been eliminated. Once you’re in the system, you’re good to go.

Based on the article’s information, it looks like Amazon will be expanding the store concept. Will it expand to Whole Foods? This concept is just the beginning of showcasing the ability of the technology. This type of technology (or similar technology) should be mainstream for many other retailers in the near future.

Zel Bianco
BrainTrust

I think it will be a hit with shoppers as long as the bill matches what they purchased. I really don’t see a down side to this. Who wants to wait in line to pay? Will the technology be brought to Whole Foods? Gee, I hope so, as the lines are generally pretty long, although in a city like New York Amazon better make sure it works when the store is crowded — which means all the time.

Max Goldberg
BrainTrust

The store, because it’s so different, will attract crowds. Once the initial hoopla dies down, consumers will continue to shop there, provided it has the items they want, is always accurate and saves time. If the technology works in Amazon Go, I expect Amazon to introduce it to Whole Foods.

Steve Montgomery
BrainTrust

The “just walk out” technology is the sizzle of this concept. It seems to work with a limited number of items, but when the market basket gets larger it means the consumer has to be willing to handle not just the payment portion of the checkout process but the bagging as well. Some will like this concept (no longer having to decide which line will move faster, etc.) and others will not. Will it work in a format where the customer has a cart full of groceries? Doubtful.

Brandon Rael
BrainTrust

As the old saying goes, “… and so it begins!” After much hype, publicity and excitement, the Amazon Go concept has become a reality. This truly is the future of retailing, however it’s in its infancy stages and will require many more evolutionary steps to scale it to its future potential. The smaller concept stores will be the key to rolling this out.

Anything this innovative and groundbreaking will not only require change management and training across Amazon to support these new concept stores. Consumers who have increasingly depended on their smartphones for everything commerce related will also need to build a trusted relationship with a such a new concept. The advantage out of the gate for Amazon is that they have the ability to flex, scale and grow rapidly in cosmopolitan markets. Another added advantage Amazon has is their Amazon Prime consumer base, which already has the necessary trust and confidence in the brand, and faith that any privacy concerns are mitigated.

Mohamed Amer
BrainTrust

Amazon has taken its time to ensure that Amazon Go delivers on its aspirations for a quick and easy stop without any queues. It took them much longer to work out the operational and technical steps to make this happen and I expect the store concept to not only be a lunch time hit but also perfect for anytime impulse snack purchases in more dense urban settings.

In effect, Amazon Go is redefining the c-store segment for the 21st century consumer. Amazon continues to leverage their technology R&D to solve existing pain points while it creates higher hurdle rates for others to copy in the short- to medium-term.

Sky Rota
BrainTrust
2 months 29 days ago

I’m not sure about it being a hit. The article said, “the store will welcome any customers that have an Amazon Go app linked to an Amazon account.” How do they know if you don’t have the app? Do you show something when you walk in? How will they stop people from stealing? What if I don’t know if I want to get the app yet because I want to check out the store first? Are kids of any age even allowed to have the app? Lots of unanswered questions. Seems like it’s going to be a lot of trouble.

Herb Sorensen
BrainTrust
What the supermarket industry refuses to accept, with their tens of thousands of SKUs and tens of thousands of square feet, is that even a Walmart functions largely as a “convenience store,” to the shopper. For Walmart AND supermarkets, ONE is the most common number of items at checkout, with TWO being second. Half the shoppers buy five or fewer items from a supermarket. The supermarket virtually functions as a communal pantry for the “neighborhood” with shoppers popping in to grab this or that immediate need. So it has been obvious for many years that the entire grocery industry is heading in the convenience store direction, kicking and screaming all along the way, beginning with the genesis of the c-store industry decades ago. And don’t expect Amazon to stick to bricks here. A 2000 item store can easily deliver 2 million items in online mode. Imagine in-store screens adjacent to the merchandise, displaying options ready for delivery later that same day. Amazon is “The Everything Store,” not just brick-and-mortar and not just an online —… Read more »
Gib Bassett
BrainTrust
I’ll add a different point of view to this development. Other brick-and-mortar retailers have watched Amazon Go for some time, and I know it’s caused some discomfort in terms of how to respond or understand the impact to their businesses. Most are nowhere near capable of testing this degree of analytics and sensor solution. What’s needed is a clear and actionable roadmap of how to use your customer data to improve overall CX for your customers and ensure this is actionable across all customer-facing business processes. Without this, too many retail marketing and technology managers are going to be chasing a shiny new object they have no capacity to match. For Amazon, it’s a great way to create anxiety among the larger retail competition and distract them from attacking their most immediate opportunities to improve. I agree with other commenters that this is definitely the future, but what’s likely to happen over the next 12 to 36 months is the emergence of companies that package similar capabilities for retailers to deploy cost effectively. At that… Read more »
Herb Sorensen
BrainTrust

Amazon patented “one click” purchasing for online checkout. (Recently the patent expired.) Do you think the GO concept is not patented to the hilt?

Bob Amster
BrainTrust

The self-checkout, cashless concept (Amazon and others) will do fine. The technology has to work perfectly, however (good luck with that, too). Interestingly, this concept creates a new service within the industry: create and “lease” a central repository of all images of all products sold in all supermarkets (so the scanners can accurately identify every item and the system can apply the right charge). This will be an evolutionary process. It will not be embraced by the entire industry overnight.

Scott Norris
Guest

There are still loads of problems in getting single-product descriptions standardized and current, correct product images rolled out across 3rd-party distributors, web service platforms, and major retailers today! And we’ve only had 20 years to agree on a common language there….

Paula Rosenblum
BrainTrust

Am I the only one who thinks about shrink? I guess I’ll have to see one in action. As of this writing, I can think of no reason to extend it to Whole Foods Market, where lines are not terribly long and personalized service is part of the experience. But perhaps Amazon has found some magic where I can’t see it.

George Anderson
Staff

If you use the mobile app, according to this New York Time’s article (https://goo.gl/huw1zF), it doesn’t appear as though you’ll be able to get out of the store without being charged. Not sure what happens if someone picks up an item without the app being turned on. My hunch is that there is some alert sent to associates when an item is removed from the shelf without an app connected to the action. It may also be that an alarm of some sort is triggered if a shoplifter leaves the store, but that’s just another hunch.

Ricardo Belmar
BrainTrust

George, I read the same New York Times article and as described, it seems you can’t actually walk into the store if you don’t have the app scanned at the entrance turnstiles. Presumably, if you don’t have the app, or haven’t linked it to your Amazon account, you aren’t getting into the store. The author of that article also stated they couldn’t fool the system by trying to “hide” an item from the shelf into their bag without it showing up on the receipt. So it would seem Amazon has figured out how to address shrink!

Ricardo Belmar
BrainTrust

Anyone see the chatter on Twitter at #AmazonGo? Loads of photos of long lines of people waiting to enter the store. Lines around the block some reported! Looks like curiosity is king today in Seattle! I wonder how many customers they are allowing into the store at one time (or if they’re controlling this at all)?

Tom Erskine
BrainTrust
2 months 29 days ago

Yes, yes and yes (eventually). Amazon’s relentless focus on the customer experience will mean that they will move quickly on the “Go” concept, as it removes a key customer pain point. What one-click purchases meant for online, Amazon Go will mean for physical retail.

Sterling Hawkins
BrainTrust

Shoppers will naturally gravitate to such a seamless experience and it’s only a matter of time until they refine the technology to roll out at Whole Foods. I’m with Tom here: “what one-click purchases meant for online, Amazon Go will mean for physical retail.”

Tom Erskine
BrainTrust
2 months 29 days ago

Thanks Sterling. The big question is, what is preventing other retailers from adopting such a relentless approach to customer experience innovation?!

Doug Garnett
BrainTrust
Doug Garnett
President, Protonik
2 months 29 days ago

Amazon Go is an interesting test bed of innovation. But I doubt it’s a fully valid store approach.

In part, there are too many pre-requisites for customers to shop. In part, Amazon’s desire is to remove the checkout friction. Except, we must remember that friction in purchasing is a consumer value — many use it as an important way to control their spending and ensure they buy only what they really want/need.

Will Amazon build more? I don’t doubt it. In high-income areas where friction’s value is less critical and in areas where there’s a tech geek value to the ideas.

In the long run? Ideas from Go will move to other retailers and other store approaches. But the Amazon Go approach will not merely be duplicated.

Doug Garnett
BrainTrust
Doug Garnett
President, Protonik
2 months 29 days ago

Another way to say this is that Amazon Go may merely be a Trojan Mouse as described by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne….

Richard J. George, Ph.D.
BrainTrust
I expect this will be one of the most active RetailWire discussions of the year. My position: First, Amazon did not invest five years and all of these resources to limit to a few stores. I see Whole Foods not too far behind in introducing such technology. Second, shoppers have longed for the elimination of the checkout drudgery since Michael Cullen opened King Kullen, America’s first supermarket, almost 90 years ago. In every research project I have conducted on supermarket shopping the number one desired attribute, beyond the ante of low price, clean and quality offerings, is speed of checkout. Interestingly, survey respondents did not rate more checkouts as their demand. Instead they said speed of checkout, forcing supermarkets to design the solution. Others have tried with limited success. If the Amazon Go technology works the concept of grocery checkout lines will go the way of bookstores and taxis, still there but diminished in importance by disruptive alternatives. This supermarket breakthrough is analogous to TSA Precheck and EZPass. Like the cat who tasted fresh tuna,… Read more »
Al McClain
Staff

Rich, unfortunately, I see almost no chance that checkout staff will be deployed elsewhere. When this technology takes off, these jobs will be lost.

Richard J. George, Ph.D.
BrainTrust

Al, I think supermarkets need to avoid the “one to one” deletion of staff created by technology. As I noted in my comments, the reduction of total store staff created by self-checkout represented poor implementation of a strategic opportunity. People think that “history repeats itself,” when in fact, the failure to learn from history is what repeats itself. If retailers have not learned from the self-checkout lesson than you will be correct in your assessment. For the customer’s sake, I hope you are wrong.

Ron Margulis
BrainTrust

I visited the store with a few clients last month and peeked in to get a glimpse of the merchandising, the technology deployed and any customer engagement. We were impressed by the first two, as all the products we could see were well presented and there was frictionless checkout. On customer engagement, we had a hard time figuring out who worked there — the people we thought were employees because they seemed to be helping other shoppers turned out to be shoppers themselves (at least they walked out with purchases). The one person who was clearly a store employee was at the exit and looked more like a bouncer than someone a shopper would ask for help from. Even given this potential hiccup, Amazon Go certainly is a game changer and the concept will be expanded in multiple forms.

Tony Orlando
BrainTrust

This concept, if the bugs are worked out, will do well in limited city areas. It will not work in rural America, where many folks live paycheck to paycheck. The convenience for the city dwellers is key for this to work, and the product line needs to be fresh and delicious, which is not a guarantee. Foodies are pretty finicky on what they desire.

It will get traction initially, so lets see how this goes. Price is not a big issue in these locations, so Amazon has a chance to make a good first impression. Anyone who goes here, please comment on the selection and price as I’m interested in the value/quality part of this, as the technology seems to be in place.

Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

Let’s be honest, this is the future of grocery retail. Automating the checkout process removes a significant cost center for grocers and eliminates a pain point for consumers. That Amazon came up with this rather than a player like Kroger is very telling. It suggests most traditional retailers are behind the curve when it comes to technological innovation.

Sky Rota
BrainTrust
2 months 29 days ago

I’m not understanding this is the “future of grocery retail.” Really? Letting people walk out with groceries? Just 2 weeks ago I spent a long weekend in San Francisco & went to Walgreens to buy something and every single isle had all their products locked up behind plexiglass!

So now all of the sudden people become this trustworthy? I don’t get it. They have the “Tide Pods” locked down like Fort Knox! Lol, good luck with this.

Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

The system Amazon employs in the Go store minimizes theft.

Shoppers can’t walk into the store without going through a turnstile which is released only when a QR code, linked to an Amazon account, is scanned. By itself, this is a deterrent — because Amazon knows who is in the store and can identify thieves.

However, theft is unlikely as in the store, image sensing technology and AI identify what a customer takes off the shelf. It doesn’t matter whether they put that item in a basket, a cart, their backpack, or just hold it in their hand — the technology recognizes that a customer has the product.

When they walk out of the store, again through turnstiles, customers are charged for whatever items they have taken. Even if they have hidden things in their clothing, they still get charged.

No system will ever prevent theft entirely, but this one has more inbuilt safeguards than a standard store.

Byron Kerr
BrainTrust

A step in the right direction as far as brick-and-mortar experiences go. It should be a hit as long as the selection of goods works. I’m a big believer in being a first adopter and hope enough people try the concept so Amazon can tweak and refine.

I believe this technology will eventually come to Whole Foods as it’s the natural progression from “convenience store” concept to “mass retail” concept. The possibilities are endless as Amazon continues to find ways to incorporate Whole Foods into the shopper’s experience.

I hope other retailers continue to watch this play out and iterate in their own way. Sam’s Club and other retailers have the “Scan and Go” concept. Many grocery stores also have the scan and check out feature (such as Stop and Shop, etc.).

Molly Nichols
Guest

Now that the technology has been unveiled, we play the waiting game. Amazon needs to make sure there are no glitches in the technology before expanding. They must also respond to consumers’ suggestions and struggles with the technology. Immediately bringing it to Whole Foods would be a mistake. It must be tested thoroughly, first.

Todd Trombley
Guest

Total game changer. Shoppers will love this. You better believe they are laying tracks to bring this into Whole Foods and open additional outlets. The only question is the cost of equipping stores and how long it takes for ROI — although that will not be based solely on cost savings from replacing store staff as increased traffic numbers will also be a factor.

Stuart Jackson
BrainTrust

Amazon Go will be a very big hit with shoppers! Let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to take the queuing out of buying their groceries? It’s also, in my view, the first real-world glimpse of the far future for the general public. I do expect Amazon to expand the concept but slowly — they’ll need time to trial the technology properly but they’re well aware that, just as with autonomous vehicles, this store is the future. It might not ever be the norm across the board but it will certainly be common in the grocery sector. Customers want speed and convenience and we now have the technology to make that a reality. Amazon won’t pass up the opportunity to get ahead of their competitors, so far ahead that they’re uncatchable, and yes I’d expect at some point that they’ll use Whole Foods as a testbed.

Peter Charness
BrainTrust

Let’s see how it does when technology meets the clever, creative and dishonest shopper … But it is promising. Will we miss that friendly and genuine cashier greeting, “how’s your day going,” or “did you find everything you needed today?”

Roy White
BrainTrust

This is the sort of experimentation that Amazon should be doing with its Whole Foods acquisition, instead of having to defend itself on the high levels of out-of-stocks. Whether or not the store in Seattle is a full success or not, it is moving forward with exploration of what the future of retailing will be. This unit could very well be the Keedoozle or original King Kullen of the the 21st century that set retailing on a path that changed everything.

Marge Laney
BrainTrust
2 months 29 days ago

I’m with Paula and Sky on this one. Margins in grocery are pretty tight. If inventory starts walking out the door unpaid for, how long can this model make economic sense?

On the convenience side, if I’m spending an additional five or 10 minutes reviewing my receipt what time have I actually saved?

And finally, do we really need another experience that keeps us head down on our phones and disconnected from the people around us?

Tony Orlando
BrainTrust
Hi Marge. Your final comments about the disconnect seems to get lost in the enthusiasm for this incredible technology, where if we don’t adapt, than we are fools. I know on this site I’m the dinosaur of the panel, but I wear the badge with pride. Technology for independent operators is great, as I love the social media aspect and front-end technology. However, no android or high tech gizmos can replace someone like me, who knows the ins and outs of real, live customer service, and that — in spite of what is posted here — matters more than ever. Amazon is a monster, full of great innovative ideas for sure, but someone still has to provide the human touch for the folks who demand it, and there are plenty of customers who will support these types of stores. Adapting to new technology is one thing, but old fashioned “look em’ in the eye,” and provide a valuable tip on prepping a dish, or an ear to someone who needs advice will always be in… Read more »
Bob Hilarides
Guest
2 months 29 days ago

I don’t know enough about how the technology works (though I understand it’s not RFID) but I suspect there will be a whole different set of challenges associated with rolling out to a stock-up grocery occasion vs. a c-store quick trip. When items are inspected, rejected and returned to the shelf, do they need to be placed in just the right slot? it’s more of an issue with the full grocery trip in which items are often selected then rejected two aisles later when a better offer or alternative presents itself. And I need to bag my items some way to get them in the car and then house on the stock-up or fill-in trip.

These are minor issues relative to the giant leap forward this represents, but still some bridges to cross before applying it to a grocery type of environment/occasion.

Larry Negrich
BrainTrust

The frictionless experience will appeal to some shoppers who don’t like lines and, initially, to the curious. For Amazon, the benefits are big. This solves the issue of identifying the customer during the shopping experience, which will be vitally important for in-store marketing. The concept is not perfect for all locations because of Paula’s concern: shrink. Some security including security at the door will surely be necessary to avoid theft. But since all activities in the store are monitored, and surely recorded, there will be records.

Joel Rubinson
BrainTrust

This is a great idea (assuming the technical issues of taking something off the shelf then putting it back does not result in a charge). However, it is non-differentiating in the long run. Some of you might be as old as me and remember when automobile companies first came out with automatic transmissions and branded them like “Cruise-o-matic.” And in the movie theater there was Technicolor. This is the same thing. However, it is important to note that Amazon is staying one step ahead and also sees the future as the blending of physical and digital.

John Karolefski
BrainTrust

If this innovation expands to Whole Foods, it will be interesting to see how theft is handled. You know, the porterhouse steak under the coat. Will it be electronic security, a guard at the door or both?

Lee Kent
BrainTrust

From the get-go, saying something is “highly accurate” is not enough for me. That says that it still has bugs and every customer will need to check their receipts carefully. Will the concept attract customers? Absolutely! People will want to try it out. Will the technology work at Whole Foods? Not ready for prime time yet, for my 2 cents.

Brian Kelly
Guest
2 months 29 days ago

It will be a hit with some shoppers, depending upon their shopping goal. Yes, AMZN will expand the store concept as it currently owns a store portfolio of two brands: Amazon and Whole Foods. Yes, it will migrate aspects of the technology to WFMI.

A couple of observations:

  1. Prime membership is required. Similar to Costco, but as a convenience or grocery store I think the $90 annual fee needs to be reconsidered.
  2. Objective is not to eliminate jobs. I think this is disingenuous. All retailers hope to reduce expenses as a % of sales, payroll is in there too. Above all else, the shopping experience needs to be relevant, whether humans are relevant remains to be seen.

It will be interesting to hear how shoppers react to the experience.

Retail ain’t for sissies!

Lee Peterson
BrainTrust

Since AMZN gave us so much time, we asked over 3000 consumers, broad demo, if a store like GO would increase chance of purchase. The answer was overwhelmingly positive. So we know that an idea like this would definitely work. Big question is, can anyone afford to do it on a large enough scale?

Aside from that, just a great idea by them — taking retail to a different level with the consumer right up front. I know I’m being a MOTO, but man, brilliant. C’mon retailers, catch up!

Harley Feldman
BrainTrust

Shoppers will like Amazon Go but will not go out of their way to shop there if the items they are looking for are not stocked by Amazon Go stores. The technologies used in Amazon Go, video and RFID, are difficult and expensive to scale to larger stores. In addition, every item must be marked before it can be scanned automatically.

Therefore, it is more likely the technology will be used in new Amazon Go stores before taking the technology to larger stores like Whole Foods.

Kai Clarke
BrainTrust

This is the future of QSRs in the short term, and major retailers in the long term. Electronically based, sensor-recorded stores are on the verge of an AI explosion, and will make convenience stores the key early recipient of this technology. Look for Amazon to grow this test and then develop an entire division around it as the success it portends becomes reality.

Adrian Weidmann
BrainTrust

Whether we like it or not, Amazon Go, in some shape or form, is the future of brick and mortar retail. One of the elephants in the room is that one of the fundamental reasons retailers are experimenting with in-store technologies is to reduce payroll. Many of the customer service and supply chain issues and shortcomings are because of errors introduced by people. Is Amazon Go in its current form perfect? No. But the ongoing experimentations, refinements, insights and learnings will be invaluable in getting it right.

This is not just about checkout. I believe the supply chain side of this equation is far more valuable. Technology and workflows that provide 100% visibility of at-shelf inventory will force (welcome?) brands to “police” their inventory.

Ricardo Belmar
BrainTrust
It’s safe to say this is the future of retail, where the experience completely removes all friction from the checkout process by eliminating checkout completely! I’m sure Amazon will see successful sales numbers for a while as the curiosity factor should bring plenty of customers for the next few months. Beyond that, I’m sure they are currently studying how to scale this to more Go stores. I’m not so sure about seeing this at Whole Foods anytime soon — are long checkout lines really a pain point at Whole Foods for their customer demographic? I think this redefines the convenience category and will flow into that market segment first, with grocery following later. My sense is the small physical space of an Amazon Go store helps make the system work well vs a much larger footprint grocery store. That said, who else saw the Alibaba presentation at NRF last week where they played a video showing how they’ve been running stores with this type of technology for quite some time, leveraging facial recognition for checkout?… Read more »
Min-Jee Hwang
BrainTrust

Shoppers are bound to love this new store concept. It cuts out one of the major pain points of the grocery store experience: standing in long checkout lines. I think Amazon Go will provide Amazon with a ton of data that will help them determine whether it makes sense to roll it out to Whole Foods stores as well. Amazon is great at trying out concepts and either failing fast (while taking bits and pieces of findings and applying them to future concepts) or achieving massive success and making tweaks along the way to make it a long lasting success.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"What one-click purchases meant for online, Amazon Go will mean for physical retail."
"Margins in grocery are pretty tight. If inventory starts walking out the door unpaid for, how long can this model make economic sense?"
"Let’s be honest, this is the future of grocery retail. Automating the checkout process removes a significant cost center for grocers..."

Take Our Instant Poll

Which do you think is more likely – will Amazon ramp up store openings of its Go concept or export the technology to its Whole Foods locations?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...