Amazon brought disruption in shopping experience when it began retailing online, offering a to z products as its logo indicates. Over the past decade, it became an online giant by growing its presence worldwide. It made a statement that it entered the brick-and-mortar shopping market with acquisition of Whole Foods. The online shopping gained a lot of momentum over the past few years. This momentum made physical store chains to rethink about their business models. Wal-Mart, one of the largest store chains in the world, took significant decisions such as increasing hourly wage and closing down its 60 Sam’s Club stores across the U.S.
Many geographies experienced reduction in number of people visiting physical stores and malls. Amazon took a major step in attracting more people to physical stores after conducting a 14-month trial of a store without a cashier. Amazon Go opened for public and the opening marked another disruption by the company in offering shopping experience. Buyers need to install an Amazon Go app, scan their smartphones, and cameras and sensors will track items that people take off the shelf. The cost of purchased items will be added to the virtual cart.
Amazon’s concept, Just Walk Out, has a potential to reshape the retail industry as high-end technology is implemented to offer cashier-less experience to buyers. However, the union of grocery store workers criticized the concept of Amazon Go. The company clarified that its aim is not to make cashiers redundant, but to offer convenience to buyers from crowded stores. Moreover, the store aims to keep prices of products competitive with other stores.
Commenting on the store, Gianna Puerini, the Vice President of Amazon, who also oversees Go, said in an interview, “It takes selection, price and convenience. I think we’re delivering on all three.”
Dozens of brick-shaped devices of the size of paperback books are hanged from the ceiling of the store. They have been suspended at different angles. The combination of sensors is used in determining prices similar to the systems which assist self-driving car prototypes to determine people and objects in the field of view.
The world’s largest e-retailing giant had plans to open the store in early 2017. However, their plans could not come to fruition as their computer vision algorithms crashed when the store was crowded. Moreover, people had to monitor footage of automated people-tracking technology to ensure systems were functioning properly. Bloomberg reported in November 2017 that employees disguised in Pikachu costume tried to misguide the system. But the system charged the right amount to every employee.
Though the Seattle-based e-retailing giant has not articulated its plans to open more stores of such kind, it would bring disruption in the brick-and-mortar shopping. However, only time will tell if the model is successful or not.