Internet shopping giant Amazon has opened its first automated grocery store, setting the stage for the future of physical store retailing where shoppers serve themselves, with the option of leaving without ‘paying’.
Dubbed Amazon Go, the checkout-free grocery is located in Seattle, Washington, the hometown for the American company. Entering the store, shoppers scan their designated Amazon Go smartphone app.
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Walking down the aisles, the store uses ceiling-mounted cameras to identify each customer and track what items they select, with sensors on the shelves adding items to the bill as customers pick them up – and deleting any they put back.
The move eliminates the need for cash billing and purchases are billed to customers’ credit cards when they leave the store.
The concept has been trialled on Amazon Go employees since December 2016.
Gianna Puerini, head of Amazon Go, said the store had operated well during the test phase: “This technology didn’t exist – it was really advancing the state of the art of computer vision and machine learning.”
However, Amazon has not said if it will be opening more Go stores elsewhere at this stage.
Amazon has been on a physical store push in recent years. In 2015, it opened its first standalone bookshop, in Seattle, with 12 now operating across the US.
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In its third quarter results in October 2017, Amazon said revenues generated by its physical stores had hit $1.28bn.
It has also been entering new APAC markets recently. In November 2017, the US e-commerce mogul unleashed its complete online retail offering in Australia after a soft launch earlier in the year.