Amazon ‘Go’ stores are finally open, but shoppers may be forgiven feeling like they are not getting exactly what they were expecting.
The stores were supposed to be a testament to technology and spell the end of the traditional retail store as we knew it.
And they are, to a certain extent.
Walking into the store may feel like any other store. But behind the walls, and inside virtually everything is enough technology to power a warship.
The store’s most unique feature is the guarantee that you will never find yourself in a line waiting to pay. You walk in, and the shop and its limitless technology see what you pick up and charges you as you leave. It’s like shoplifting, except you get caught straight away and have to pay. This kind of technology was theoretically supposed to mean that you would walk into an unmanned store, pick up a bottle of wine and a cooked chicken and walk out without ever needing to communicate with a human.
But Amazon Go stores are filled with staff. You will be greeted when you arrive by a genuine human. If you wish to purchase wine, another human will check your identification. There are even more people wandering around making sure all the technology that makes humans so superfluous is working correctly. One blogger said they counted at least 12 staff members in the Amazon Go store when they visited, and that’s not including the ones they can’t see.
Regardless, the store is definitely an innovation and a good demonstration of how we will undoubtedly be shopping in the years to come. Being able to be automatically charged may sound unappealing to many at the moment, especially if you accidentally pick up the $500 bottle of wine, but just like all other payment methods that we have attempted to shun in the past, it will no doubt become standard.