An Amazon GO store is a full-fledged supermarket, but it will be enough to take a tour inside to immediately understand why it is so special. One realizes immediately that something is missing, it is usually essential in any store: the cash desk. There are no speakers with staff or even self-service. There is no stopping anywhere to pay, although this does not mean that the products are free, of course.
The account is debited directly to the credit card linked to your Amazon account without the customer having to do anything. It sounds like science fiction, but in the world’s smartest supermarkets it’s already a reality.
We got to try this new way to shop at one of the Amazon GO stores in San Francisco. We realized how the combination of artificial intelligence and a series of high-tech sensors, placed on the ceiling, works in perfect concert to offer an absolutely unique shopping experience.
How an Amazon GO store works
The most extreme summary is: enter, pass your code, choose the products, put in an envelope and exit. So simple that it doesn’t seem possible, does it? And yet it is.
What you need for shopping
What you need to shop at a smart physical store is: an Amazon account and the Amazon GO application. A credit card will also be needed, as it is the only form of payment accepted. For obvious reasons debit cards cannot be used. In fact, these may not have sufficient funds to cover the expense, but the system would only discover it after the customer has left the store. After you are certain you have these three tools, and after having configured them together, you will be ready to go shopping for the future.
What’s in the stores
As anticipated, to enter just scan the QR code generated by the app (a bit like you do at the airport). Then you will not have to do anything but choose what to buy: there are mainly food products. There is also a refreshment area with a microwave oven where you can warm up, before consuming directly on the spot, the ready meals purchased. We have noticed that there are also some non-food items under the Amazon brand, but only essential items such as power banks, water bottles and some cables. Don’t expect to find Amazon.com catapulted into a physical store, so to speak.
Sensors responsible for everything
The products you choose are marked on your account at the precise moment you take them off the shelf, but don’t worry: you don’t have to buy them just because you raised them, if you don’t want them you can just put them back in their place. But be careful, this step is essential: they must be in place, exactly where you took them, otherwise it will not be possible to deduct them from the account. Likewise, you should not delegate someone else to take or leave products for us because otherwise the buying experience would be compromised.
In fact, all the operation of the Amazon GO stores is based on a large number of sensors positioned on the ceiling that “look” at what you do. However precise they are, they are still guided by artificial intelligence , which obviously needs to follow a linear process to work properly. So, if I enter an Amazon Go store, I take the product and I always put it back in its place if I don’t want it anymore. Being careful about this, the shopping experience is always perfect.
Once you’ve chosen everything you need, you don’t need to do anything else than leave the store. No crates and no queues waiting to pay: after about ten minutes, when obviously the GPS will show that you are far away from the store, you will receive a payment receipt directly within the Amazon Go application.
The initial impressions
As soon as you enter, the initial feeling, made up of doubts and hesitations, quickly disappeared looking at the other customers: the USA now seem accustomed to this way of making purchases and wander peacefully for the store choosing the products. The first Amazon GO store was opened about a year ago, it was interesting to see how quickly customers adapted to the revolutionary novelty. In that situation, the only thing we could do was put away the tourist’s umbrella and camera and pretend to be completely at ease in a totally new reality.
Quick and accurate purchases
Before starting shopping we came across a salesman (because yes, there are salesmen!) And we asked him what it is like to work in a store like this. He seemed completely sincere in admitting he was enthusiastic, confirming that, even if there are no speakers, there is always something to do to manage the products or help new customers. Therefore, the Amazon GOs do not risk in any way to reduce the jobs of those who work in supermarkets: the resources are simply used in other ways.
Choosing the products was simple and fun, we took and left several foods without running into any problems. All the merchandise is displayed in an orderly manner and nothing is found out of place: it is clearly one of the consequences of the automatic purchase mechanism, but it is pleasant to shop in an absolutely orderly and precise place. When we finished, we simply left the store and after about ten minutes the receipt arrived within the application.
Where are the Amazon Go
Currently only in the United States. Specifically, they can be found in New York, Seattle, San Francisco and Chicago. There is still nothing official, but the first European Amazon GO store could be opened in London. As for India or other countries, unfortunately we do not believe that it can come so soon, but it is a pity: this kind of shopping experience is not only fun, but it also has a great utility because it saves the time that is usually lost at the end of the ” speakers”.