Currently, Amazon is known to be the largest e-commerce platform in North America. With revenues of more than 177 billion US dollars. However, in 2016 they announced the arrival of an unconventional physical store: Amazon Go. Where you can buy without going through checkout or standing in line. What’s it about…?

What is Amazon Go?

It’s a physical store that started as a prototype in 2016, as an initiative promoted by Amazon in 2016. This store, which is meant to be a supermarket, has nothing conventional. Why? Since it’s a physical store where buyers don’t pay in cash or have to stand in line. It’s only a matter of entering the establishment, choose what they want to take and go out the front door.

Of course, it’s not as simple as it sounds. It’s not that the buyer can take everything for free or pay when they want. Amazon designed a technology that allows this purchase process. Which depends mainly on smartphones and geographic fence technology. Based on learning algorithms, image detection and data processing through detectors.

A review of its history and functioning

At the moment, there’s only one Amazon Go store. Which is based in Seattle, Washington. At first, since it was a test technology, Amazon Go was available only to Amazon employees. From December 5, 2016. To be able to buy products and items, it was necessary to have a mobile app and have an Amazon account.

It was announced in a YouTube video on the official Amazon channel, which lasts 1 minute and 50 seconds. It explains clearly and specifically how this service works. Which Amazon called as “Just Walk Out” technology. An idea that they consider as revolutionary in the world of commerce.

As expected, the video proved to attract much attention from the media and the international community. As you can see it, the purchase system consists of arriving at the establishment and scanning a QR code at the entrance. Then a series of detectors are in charge of capturing the client’s movements.

That way, it’ll be detected when a product is taken, which will automatically enter your Amazon “shopping cart”. If you change your mind and leave it in its place, it’ll leave your cart. After leaving the store, the transaction will be done automatically. It turns a typical shopping of the week into a 10 minute thing.

Amazon Go Purchase
The shelves of Amazon Go have detectors that know when a particular customer has taken an object or left it. Quite precisely. Source:

The store shelves have weight sensors to determine which of the objects were taken. In Amazon Go you won’t find carts or baskets. You’ll not see any cashier either. And although you have the freedom to do so, there’s no need to take a bag to carry your things. Since the store has developed sensors, it’s almost impossible to steal an object from it.

Expectations and conclusions

To tell the truth, the idea of ​​entering a store and taking items just like that is a bit scary. Since it is a concept that is not natural and could even make us feel like we are stealing something. But incredible as it may seem, this technology is very real. And while it is still in development, it has proven to be functional and applicable.

The concept behind this store proposes a total change to the commercial system as we know it. It even threatens to overwhelm the traditional retail system, possibly displacing or replacing it. Some of its detractors argue that this could affect the economy. At any rate, this continues to be a subject of debate.

Amazon Go Entrance
At the entrance of the Amazon Go store, there are some scanners where a QR code must be captured in order to enter and make a purchase. Source:

Right now, Amazon Go is now available to the general public. Since January 22, 2018. And there’s still only one store, the same one located in Seattle. The American website Business Insider predicts that in the future, Amazon will implement around 20 Amazon Go stores in the coming years.

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Will Amazon Go be the future of commerce as we know it…?