EP062 - Deep Dive Amazon-Go Store concept
On Monday 12/5/16, Amazon surprised the industry by debuting a new retail concept called Amazon Go. The 1800 square foot brick and mortar convince store’s most notable feature is that it requires no checkout. Just put your items in your shopping bag and walk out of the store when you are done. Payment is handled implicitly (similar to paying for an Uber).
The store is for Amazon Prime members only (requires a mobile app to act as a key and let you in the store), and uses a combination of camera and sensors to track shoppers and the items they put in their bags. The store is open to Amazon employees only for this month, and will be open to all prime members “early next year.”
Amazon has a website for the store, and a demonstration video
Context and History
In the video and on the info site, they talk about having been working on the store for 4yrs
The store likely leverages image recognition technology Amazon acquired via Snaptell 2009
The store clearly leverages elements of two patents Amazon filed in 2013 and 2014
Implications for the Industry
This is not the first self-checkout concepts. Grocery stores have been experimenting with full cart scanners for years, Apple has self-service checkout, Walmart has scan and go checkout, and startup Twyst has a “smart bag” that adds up purchases as you put them in the bag. What’s unique here is they aren’t just making checkout easier/faster, they are eliminating it. In fairness, IBM made a concept video with the exact same checkout experience in 2009, but it was based on RFID and never went further than the vidmazon has made it real, and is letting customers experience it.
All the technologies Amazon is using have been around (and in the retail industry for a while) but no other retailer has built this store. This is largely due to Amazon’s unique culture… failure is encouraged and Amazon employees are free to experiment. Most legacy retailers would quickly make a list of reasons not to do the store and move on, Amazon did it anyway.
Regardless of the specific technology, operational issues, scalability etc… customers are likely going to love the experience. Once they have experienced it, they are going to want and expect it everywhere. For the busy Mom, lower friction experiences usually win, and taking checkout from something that has to be done explicitly to something that happens implicitly is going to be very popular with shoppers. Once again, Amazon is setting the customer experience expectations that the rest of the retail industry must try to live up to.
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Episode 62 of the Jason & Scot show was recorded on Tuesday December 7th, 2016.
http://jasonandscot.com Join your hosts Jason "Retailgeek" Goldberg, SVP Commerce & Content at Razorfish, and Scot Wingo, Founder and Executive Chairman of Channel Advisor as they discuss the latest news and trends in the world of e-commerce and digital shopper marketing.