Shoppers use the Amazon Go app to gain entry to the store through a turnstile. When they leave, Amazon Go’s technology automatically debits their accounts for the items they take (and credits the account for items they pick up but put back on the shelf) and sends a receipt to the app.
“We created the world’s most advanced shopping technology so you never have to wait in line,” the company said on its website. “Our checkout-free shopping experience is made possible by the same types of technologies used in self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning. Our Just Walk Out Technology automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart. When you’re done shopping, you can just leave the store.”
Food and beverage items dominate the store’s offerings, although shoppers can also find nonfood items such as batteries and cold medicines. There are personnel staffing the store, including food service employees and a worker checking IDs of buyers of beer and wine.
Amazon has been working on the technology that powers the Amazon Go store for about five years, and opened the store to staff for beta testing in 2016.
One potential customer, Seattle video journalist Manuel Valdes, took to Twitter today to comment on the absence of cashiers at the store. “The Amazon Go store, a high-tech convenience store, should have scratch tickets because without cashiers I don’t have to face the shame of buying scratch tickets,” Valdes tweeted.
A few journalists who have been touring the store in the run-up to today’s public opening have speculated whether some shoppers might be put off by the close monitoring of their every movement.