Remember that futuristic conversation you had with your friend about walking out of a grocery store without bothering to get into long queues? Well, thanks to Amazon, this is the now we are living in… or at least some of us!
Amazon decided to automate the entire grocery shopping experience with their new store called Amazon Go. Moving away from the conventional put-in-your-cart, or pay-at-checkout or self-checkout kiosks, the first Amazon Go store opened doors earlier this week in Seattle.
This store is something that is to give you the out of the future feels, with rows of gates guarding the entrance to store only allowing people with app of the store installed in to the store. The store is 1,800-square foot mini-market packed with shelves of food that you can find in a lot of other convenience stores — soda, potato chips, ketchup. It also has some food usually found at Whole Foods, the supermarket chain that Amazon owns.
With no cashiers in sight, the customers automatically get charged on their Amazon account with whatever products they chose. According to Amazon, every time a customer grabs an item off a shelf, the product is automatically put into the shopping cart of their online account. If customers put the item back on the shelf, Amazon removes it from their virtual basket.
With there being approximately 3.5million cashiers working in the US alone, this new technology may seem like a red light for these people especially when the Amazon Go eventually spreads out. Although, Amazon adds that this technology for now adds to the customer experience, as even though there are no cashiers on the counter, there are employees roaming around for various tasks such as restocking shelves and helping customers troubleshoot any technical problems, store employees mill about ready to help customers find items, and there is a kitchen next door with chefs preparing meals for sale in the store.
Furthermore with no cashiers being present, an employee sits in the wine and beer section of the store, checking IDs before customers can take alcohol off the shelves.
According to the Chicago Tribune, decades of psychological research reinforces that the farther we are from the “pain of paying”, the lesser we understand about how much we are really spending. Speaking about this habit, Professor of Marketing at Cornell University, Manoj Thomas says,
“Based on data, we know that when people use any abstract form of payment, they spend more. And the type of products they choose changes too.”
There are no answers to as where Amazon plans to take the technology or whether they will be opening more stores of this nature or even leave the store in Seattle be one of its kind experience. However there have been speculations that it could sell the system to other retailers for usage like they do with their cloud computing.
Not sure of the no queue promises… since social media tells us that people queued up for hours ‘outside’ the store to get themselves a peek into the future of groceries!
Source: NY Times and Chicago Tribune