April 4, 2017
In December, Amazon began a beta test for a new physical store concept, called Amazon Go, that many said could transform the retail experience—but the technology is not ready for a wider test, according to reports. The company introduced the idea of a store with no checkout lines that would read a customer’s phone when they entered the store, use smart technology and cameras to sense what items they were taking off the shelves and automatically charge their Amazon account—a perfect blend of physical retail and card-not-present payment technology that leveraged the best parts of both. But the Seattle pilot location, which has been open to employees in the test since December, did not launch by the end of March as planned.
According to a Wall Street Journal report, the monitoring and tracking system, which shares many of its characteristics with the technology being used in the development of driverless vehicles, struggles when trying to keep track of more than 20 people at a time. Also, the shelves that sense when items have been moved are not working correctly. A widely shared video that accompanied Amazon Go’s December launch created excitement around the idea.
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