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Ecommerce

Fully automated Amazon Go store opens to the public

Monday 22 January 2018 | 10:10 AM CET

Amazon Go automated and checkout-free grocery store has opened in Seattle, US on Monday, January 22.

Located in Seattle, in an Amazon office building, the Amazon Go store is the first “automated” grocery store. It relies on cameras and weight sensors to recognize what shoppers take off the shelves and what they put back. There are no cash registers nor any checkout lines, as customers are billed after leaving the store using credit cards on file. 

The Amazon Go store is made possible by merging the offline and the online experience. Shoppers who enter the store must scan their Amazon Go smartphone app and pass through a turnstile. This is the only time when they are required to reach for their pockets.

From above, cameras supervise the whole experience and helpful weight sensors with which they communicate, help them know exactly what product a user takes off the shelf. The shoppers are charged as they exit the store, thanks to cameras capable of identifying them.

The experience is seamless for the shopper, but putting together this project was not easy for Amazon. Besides regulatory hurdles, there were many technical issues that had to be resolved. Reuters reports that during the test phase, cameras had trouble correctly distinguishing shoppers with similar body types.

The high-tech cameras and sensors also had to be up to par with children, who “caused havoc by moving items to incorrect places”.

The convenience-style store opened to Amazon employees on 5 December, 2016 in a test phase. At the time, Amazon said it expected members of the public could begin using the store in early 2017. Amazon has not disclosed any plans for opening more store in the future.

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