Though Amazon employees have been testing stores without cashiers, it remains unclear if the public is ready for them or not.
Over a year after Amazon first unveiled the concept, the e-commerce giant is opening its A.I. powered Amazon Go store in downtown Seattle.
The store lets shoppers scan their smartphone with the Amazon Go app at a turnstile to enter the store, select the items they want, and exit the store without ever having to interact with a store employee or undergo a checkout process.
By integrating machine learning algorithms, computer vision, and sensors, the company can track what people purchased as well as charges to their account. It can track if someone puts an item back on the shelf so they won’t be charged for it.
Reuters news service described the system as “Cash registers and checkout lines become superfluous – customers are billed after leaving the store using credit cards on file.”
This does not mean the store uses no employees. Amazon says human beings will be making food, stocking shelves, and helping customers. The store will offer ready-made breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks and the staples of any grocery trip like bread, milk, cheese, Amazon Meal Kits, and more.
Amazon did not say if it plans to open more “Go” stores, but did say it doesn’t plan to add technology to the more complicated Whole Foods stores. Amazon now has over a dozen in-person book stores, which also sell toys, electronics, and small gifts. It has some space in Kohl’s stores, and small shops in multiple malls.
The company announced that the Amazon Go store would open by early 2017 back in 2016, but delayed that while they ran tests and worked on the tech.