In recent years, Amazon has become a common household word due to the convenience of services such as Prime and Fresh, their low costs, vast inventory and excellent customer service. Lately, you might’ve even heard their name in the news, be it for the opening of their brick and mortar bookstores, their purchase of Whole Foods or the announcement that Jeff Bezos (Amazon’s CEO) was officially declared the richest man in the world with a net worth of 125 billion. Yes, billion.
However recently, Amazon’s made the news for something rather different: its first cashierless store which stands apart from self-checkout. Amazon refers to it as “just walk out” shopping, because it really is that simple. You pick up what you want and then you… just walk out.
Here’s how it works:
Before entering the store, customers must scan the “Amazon Go” app on their smartphone. This app is linked to their Amazon account. Customers are tracked via cameras and sensors placed throughout the store. Amazon reports these sensors to be highly accurate. When a customer picks up an item, it gets added to their “cart”. When exiting the store, items get charged to the customer’s Amazon account. If a customer finds that they were mistakenly charged or they’re unhappy with an item, they can simply request a refund which will remove the item from their bill. The store also features a sit-down area that includes condiments for sandwiches, utensils, and microwaves. This Seattle store is a bit on the smaller side at only 1,800 square feet which pales in comparison to the average grocery store.
Amazon Go’s opening caused a panic that cashier jobs would become useless. This was a fear that reached many, as cashiers are the 2nd most common job in the United States. Amazon Go still has plenty of workers, though. Employees can be seen stocking shelves, assisting customers with questions, checking ID’s for liquor purchases, and making food (mostly salads and sandwiches for a quick, on-the-go lunch).
Projections believe Amazon Go stores would need upwards of thousands of office workers in order to make this modern bodega worth the effort. As of now, there are plans to open as many as six more stores this year in locations like Los Angeles and Seattle.
Could an Amazon Go survive the hustle and bustle of NYC? Guess we’ll have to wait and see.