After over a year of testing, Amazon will open its convenience store with no checkout queues and no cashiers, dubbed Amazon Go, to the public. The allure of Amazon Go is customers' ability to enter the store, put their items into their own shopping bags, and walk out. Amazon Go has no human cashiers to interact with, as all transactions are made wirelessly through the Amazon Go app and your Amazon account.
The online retailer announced Amazon Go in December 2016, opening its single location to Amazon employees only. Customers have to scan the Amazon Go app on a turnstile-like entryway before they can go into the store and shop. Once inside, customers can pick up any items they want—food, drinks, essential items, and even alcohol—and leave when they wish, without standing in a checkout line or interacting with a cashier. One of the few store employees will have to check your ID if you purchase alcohol, but otherwise you can leave when you've finished shopping and your Amazon account will be billed for the items you chose.
Amazon Go works thanks to an outfitting of special cameras, shelf sensors, and the company's computer vision system that together monitor your actions in the store as well as the movement of items on shelves. The technology isn't fool-proof, though, and it can get confused when the store is crowded or when items get misplaced in the store. According to a Recode report, these instances pushed back the debut of Amazon Go to the public. The company originally planned to open the Seattle location of Amazon Go to the public early last year.
While Amazon yet hasn't announced plans to expand Amazon Go to other cities (or build it into existing stores like Whole Foods), that's likely the intended plan, as Amazon is looking for ways to more directly take on brick-and-mortar retail. The hope is that increasing the convenience factor of the typical convenience store model by making it quicker and easier to "enter, buy, and go" will draw in new customers.