Amazon has started testing an innovative take on brick-and-mortar retail with a grocery store dubbed Amazon Go in Seattle that has no cashier or checkout line. Instead, the 1,800-square-foot store is blanketed with motion-capturing cameras and sensors, which allows it to leverage a powerful combination of computer vision and deep machine learning to keep track of the goods on and off the shelves, recognize each visitor, and create a virtual shopping cart on their phone. Once they are done shopping, they can just walk out of the store, confirm their purchases on their phones via automated receipts, and pay with their Amazon accounts. The store is only open to Amazon employees at the moment, but the company says it will be open to the public in early 2017.
What Retailers Should Do
This launch marks a crucial step in Amazon’s ambitious expansion into physical retail after the ecommerce giant tested the water with a few branded bookstores in select cities. More importantly, it unveils Amazon’s inspired vision for the future of retail as it proposes a frictionless, mobile powered shopping experience that eliminates one of the worst parts of grocery shopping – waiting in line for checkout.
While Amazon’s approach may seem a bit radical to some, there is no denying that smartphones are bringing a myriad of new possibilities into creating better in-store experiences. Walgreens, for example, has launched two initiatives aimed at delivering a more personalized shopping experience via its branded mobile app. Other retailers may not have the resources to attempt what Amazon is testing, but they need to take a cue and start leveraging mobile technologies to modernize their retail experiences.
For more information on how retailers can effectively reach connected consumers by taking a mobile-powered, omnichannel approach, check out the Boundless Retail section in our Outlook 2016.
Lead image is a screen capture from Amazon’s YouTube Video