A video posted by Amazon shows a woman walking into a store, scanning the ready meals, popping one in her purse and then leaving. Sounds like something caught on CCTV, right? Well, this is Amazon’s vision for shopping in the near future.
Through its Amazon Go app, Amazon hopes to create a check-out free grocery store which allows customers to walk in, pick up their desired items and then walk right out. There is no cash exchanged and nor are there any long lines for customers to wait in.
Amazon is calling it “Just Walk Out Technology”. Similar to what is seen in driverless cars, Amazon has combined computer vision, deep learning algorithms, and sensor fusion.
As of yet, Amazon has not revealed specific details of how the technology works. We can be sure it involves using numerous sensors placed across the store to monitor what items are being picked up and the sections of the stores customers are headed to.
How Amazon has managed to successfully syndicate different technology to work in collaboration is praiseworthy tech experts say. The concept is complex but if Amazon manages to pull it off, it can completely change how we do our groceries.
Upon arriving at the store, customers tap into the scanners with their smartphones using the Amazon Go App. Similar to online shopping, items are added to a virtual shopping cart as they are picked off the shelf. If a customer is unsure of an item, they can place it back on the shelf and the item is instantly removed from the cart.
As you leave, the “Just Walk Out Technology” adds up all your items and charges you on the app – quick and easy, no lines, no check-out.
Technology has been used to track a customer’s preferences for many years, enabling retailers to customize their marketing efforts to each customer specifically. However, we have not seen technology being used to track customers in the real world as they interact with products in an actual store.
What has left tech experts baffled is how Amazon is going to attach items to specific customers. “Tying the two together at 100 percent accuracy, that’s a problem that’s hard to solve”, says Brent Franson, CEO of Euclid Analytics. If Amazon fails to do so then the technology will be deemed unacceptable.
Another concern is how Amazon is going to assure that all items are placed in their assigned positions is unclear, as grocery shoppers often put items on the wrong shelves.
As complicated as it seems, here’s hoping that Amazon has all the kinks figured out before the technology is launched, making grocery shopping a less tedious task.