Amazon is not content with driving online shopping forward and forcing traditional retailers to play catch up. Today, the company is opening its bricks and mortar food store to the public. There are no checkouts or cash registers – just products and wide aisles that make browsing easy for customers.
Recode reports that the store looks “a high-tech version of a 7-Eleven” that offers an array of convenience foods as well as selection of products from Whole Foods – Amazon’s recent acquisition.
In itself, this one store attached to Amazon’s corporate HQ in Seattle isn’t likely to make a huge difference to the retail landscape. But it gives the company a great test bed to try out new AI and other tools to engage shoppers and extract maximum value from their credit cards – there’s no cash in the Amazon Go store.
It all works through the Amazon Go app. When you enter the store, you scan your phone and cameras, shelf sensors and some smart software monitor what you take from the shelves and then charge your Amazon Go account as you leave the store. As well as basic food staples and pre-prepared meals customers can buy alcohol and other beverages in the store.
The store’s aim, according to head of Amazon go Dilip Kumar, is to remove the biggest pain the the retail customer’s butt – queues. By removing checkout queues and placing staff in the store to assist customers instead of simply scanning items and collecting payments, Amazon aims to change the nature of bricks-and-mortar retail.
One of the potential benefits the Amazon Go store brings is the ability to put new retail tech into practice and then license it to other retailers. This would deliver a nice revenue stream, just as their recently expired “1-click/” patent did for many years.