Amazon’s first foray into the convenience store market, Amazon Go, opened on Monday (Jan. 22) at its headquarters in Seattle, Washington.
According to a report in Recode, the store, which was in development for five years, will be located on the ground floor of the eCommerce giant's new headquarters. The store will filled with technologies not typically found in a U.S. convenience store.
Recode reported that upon entering the Amazon Go store, customers will be able to choose from pre-made salads, sandwiches, snacks and meals, as wells as beer, wine and other beverages. Shelves are also stocked with produce, meat and Amazon meal kits, noted the report.
To reach new brick-and-mortar customers, Amazon is including such high-tech conveniences as speedy checkout, which eliminates the need to wait in lines to pay upon exiting. While Amazon Go won’t need cashiers, there will be employees who perform such tasks as checking IDs for alcohol purchases and preparing food in the store's kitchen.
In order to shop in the store, customers must first download the Amazon Go app on their mobile device and scan the app upon entering. Customers then proceed to shop, but don't have to check out when exiting. Instead, the store will use cameras and sensors on shelves, as well as a computer vision system, to scan the items being purchased and automatically charge them to the shopper's Amazon account.
While trials have proved the technology functions correctly, the real test will be when the store is opened to the public and crowded with customers. Another potential challenge could occur if someone removes an item from one shelf but then leaves it at another place in the store. There’s also the question of whether the technology can decipher between two customers who look alike and are shopping in close proximity. Those types of scenarios, added Recode, were among the reasons the store’s opening was delayed by about a year.