amazon go

Amazon Go

Amazon has plans to open a Go store in New York City.  This Amazon Go store will be located inside a shopping and office complex across from the World Trade Centre.  Amazon plans to unveil the cashierless convenience store inside Brookfield Place, formerly known as the World Financial Center, in Manhattan’s Battery Park City neighborhood. Brookfield Place has been the home of large corporations like American Express and Time Inc., as well as upscale stores such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Saks Fifth Avenue. It is situated along the Hudson River, directly across West Street from the World Trade Center.

What’s interesting about the Amazon Go stores is that they use a combination of sensors, cameras, and computer vision to automatically charge customers for the items that they pick up, while they are exiting the store. Further, this concept allows people to leave the store without having to stop and pay.  You literally walk-in, pick up the items that you want, and you walk out of the store.  Since the first Amazon Go store opened to the public on the ground floor of the company’s Seattle headquarters early this year, the concept has become the focus of much fascination in the retail industry, and the stores have even become a tourist destination.

This will be Amazon’s fourth store.  They, of course, have their first store in Seattle, and two in Chicago with a third on its way.  Amazon had previously confirmed that it will open at least one location in San Francisco.  Which would give them a total of 6 stores.   Some of the stores, including the first Seattle location, feature prepared foods such as sandwiches and salads alongside a small selection of packaged groceries like soups and condiments. The original store also sells wine and beer.  Other stores feature the prepared foods without the grocery selection.  Making them more like a Pret a Manger.  The format of the New York City store is unknown at this time.

What I find fascinating about this concept is just the idea that it could revolutionize the way that we get ourselves groceries.  Sure, this isn’t the same as going to the supermarket, and loading your cart with your weekly food haul, but it does beg the question if it will go this way in the future.  Think about it for a moment though – stores all across the United States offer a self-checkout option.  Yes, someone stands by and makes sure that you’ve scanned everything properly, but overall the system doesn’t require an individual to run it.

I’m also not advocating for the loss of jobs by hardworking people, but I think that there is something about taking the frustration out of grocery shopping.  As of right now, that’s not Amazon’s plan.  They believe that the convenience of the Amazon Go stores can differentiate them and make them destinations for busy working professionals during peak mealtimes.  Which is also a great idea, as I’m always looking for a place where I can run in and get a salad when I’m in a rush.

According to Bloomberg, Amazon has discussed opening as many as 3,000 Amazon Go locations by 2021.  That’s a lot.  And 2021 is just around the corner.  Further, Amazon doesn’t have any plans to use the Amazon Go technology in Whole Food stores, but as I said, if they decided to go this way, I think it would revolutionize the industry.

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