Amazon opens checkout-free store in Seattle, US

  • Amazon opens checkout-free store in Seattle, US

Amazon opens checkout-free store in Seattle, US

In a move to disrupt ordinary trips to buy milk, Amazon is opening its first Amazon Go convenience store in Seattle, Washinton. How can an ordinary trip to the corner store be revolutionized? No lines, no checkout.

For five years, Amazon has been developing Just Walk Out technology for this very objective. To start shopping, customers must scan an Amazon Go smartphone app and pass through a gated turnstile. Once inside, customers can pick up any items they want-food, drinks, essential items, and even alcohol-and leave when they wish, without standing in a checkout line or interacting with a cashier.

The Amazon Go app is compatible with recent iPhone and Android phones, and free to download.

Amazon explains that its "checkout-free shopping experience is made possible by the same types of technologies used in self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning", which combined allow the retailer to automatically detect when products are removed or returned to store shelves. Customers take what they need and just get out of the store. While a New York Times reporter who got an early look tried to test the robots' mettle, he was promptly discovered, and his Amazon account was charged for the item, a four-pack of soda.

The ironic thing is that there is now a line to shop at the grocery store whose entire premise is that you won't have to wait in line. The company originally planned to open the Seattle location of Amazon Go to the public early past year.

Since Amazon has invested so much time into this technology (a luxury that only a company on Amazon's scale could afford), it is unlikely that any other corporation will be able to compete - at least for quite some time.