Amazon this week opened a brick-and-mortar grocery location that fuses the technology that enables driverless cars with card-not-present payments and could be what the future of retail looks like. Amazon Go enables shoppers to enter, choose their products and walk out without ever stopping at a checkout line. A video released by the e-commerce pioneer on Monday explains how an Amazon account, an app, QR codes, cameras, microphones, smart shelves and machine learning combine to enable a new experience at physical stores.
As they enter the store, users scan a QR code generated by the Amazon Go app and then do not need to use their device again. Any items a shopper picks up off a shelf are added to the online shopping cart. Items that are replaced on the shelf are removed from the cart. When the user leaves, the items are automatically totaled by the system and the shopper’s credit card attached to their Amazon account is charged. Amazon automatically sends a receipt to the user’s phone.
Amazon Go will open its single grocery store location in Seattle to the public in early 2017 (it is open to Amazon employees now). According to the Wall Street Journal, it is one of several grocery formats the company is testing. Depending on the success of those tests, sources told the WSJ the company could open up to 2,000 stores.