Insights from BCC Research

Arrive, Shop, Take, Leave: Brick-and-Mortar Smart Shopping

Posted by Clayton Luz on Dec 20, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Just in time for the holidays: no lines, no registers, no self-checkout machines.

 
Holiday shopping made easy!
 
You walk into the store, see the item you want, grab it, about face, and leave the store.
 
Don't worry, security won't hassle you, because the order's been charged to your account. You're good to go. No fuss, no muss, everyone's pocketbook remains out of sight during the transaction.
But, there's a hitch: your account must be an Amazon account. And you have to be an Amazon employee. For now, anyway.
 
And it's just a "beta" dream, this grocery store without lines or checkout counters.
 
It's Amazon Go, the e-commerce behemoth's new grocery store concept.
 
Unveiled earlier this month, the 1,800-square foot Go store opened in Seattle only to Amazon employees. The new store eliminates checkout lines by allowing shoppers to enter the store using a new mobile app. Customers can peruse aisles that offer prepared meals such as breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, as well as grocery staples such as baked goods, bread, cheese, and milk.
 
Shoppers can pick from artisanal foods, too, Amazon Meal Kits, the e-retailer's epicurean challenge to Blue Apron. The meal kits include all the ingredients for a two-person meal that requires about 30 minutes of prep and cook time.
 
Amazon Go uses computer vision and sensors to detect the items you’re stashing in your virtual cart. First, you scan the new app when you enter the shop. Then, you do your shopping as you usually do. Store sensors throughout the store recognize your cart items and charge them to your account as you leave the shop.
 
The concept employs the same types of technologies used in self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning, according to Amazon.
 
While you're enjoying the benefits of avoiding lines or battling with nagging, self-checking machines ("Please replace the item in the bag. Don't let me tell you again!"), know that Amazon is likely tracking your shopping proclivities via sensors and your phone, notes Natt Garun in The Verge.
 

"Amazon could analyze items you may have noticed or were potentially interested in buying (i.e., picking something up off a shelf and putting it back down.)," he writes." Combine this with your Amazon.com browsing activities and the company could gear up to serve even more recommended products wherever you’re online."

Like Santa Claus, Amazon could potentially know what you want for Christmas, or at any other time of the year.
 
The store is scheduled for a public opening in early 2017.

Topics: Instrumentation and Sensors