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Amazon opens store without checkouts

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Imagine walking into a store or boutique, finding the items you wish to purchase, and leave without having to queue to pay at a checkout. This is the latest technology introduced by Amazon, who wish to make its in-store shopping experience as seamless as possible.

The online giant is hoping its latest retail strategy, a new grocery store that has no checkouts or payment tills, will change the landscape of physical stores.

Due to launch in Seattle in early 2017, customers will pay for goods via an app, instead of paying a cashier.

According to the BBC, the Just Walk Out shopping experience uses the same types of technologies found in self-driving cars. The system detects when items are taken or returned to shelves and tracks them in a virtual shopping trolley. Once the shopper leaves the store, their Amazon account will be charged and a receipt sent to them.

The technology, if found successful, could change the way the high street interacts with its customers. Boutiques and stores could reduce long queues as the payment system would be obsolete.

While there have been many advances in the ever-changing retail industry, most of these have been made around the consumer in-store experience, merchandising and being omni-channel responsive. An integrated checkout system has been largely ignored, until now.

Amazon aims to replicate its customer service and ease of shopping from its online stores to its brick and mortar.

"Grocery retail is a crowded sector, and customers have incredibly high expectations of the Amazon brand," Natalie Berg, an analyst at Planet Retail told the BBC. "If they're going to differentiate, they'll need to translate the fantastic customer experience that they have created online in a physical store setting. This is no easy feat. Removing the traditional checkout process does exactly that."

Amazon spent over four years developing the technology and the shop, which will see customers swipe into the store using the Go app. It will use computer vision, sensors and deep learning algorithms to keep track of what customers are picking up off the shelves.

Photo credit:Amazon to Go logo