Starting today, shoppers in downtown Seattle have the opportunity to visit Amazon Go, a mini-market some are calling a “store of the future.” The reason why is apparent nearly immediately upon entry — this store has no cash registers and no cashiers.
The entrance to Amazon Go features turnstiles like those found at subway stations, and with a swipe of the store’s smartphone app, shoppers are granted entry. Then, they can choose from a selection of items typically found at a compact supermarket or convenience store, such as soda, chips, and other small food items.
The store does not offer shopping carts or baskets. Shoppers instead put all of the items they intend to purchase directly into the bags they’ll take with them. While this part of the process could prove impractical if the concept is ever applied to a larger store, it works fine for the 1,800-square-foot market.
After picking out what they’d like to buy, shoppers simply walk back out the same gates they entered through — no waiting in line necessary. Cameras throughout the store use machine learning software to keep track of shoppers’ chosen items, and their Amazon accounts are charged once they leave.
Amazon is already facing backlash for their new shop’s potential to eliminate retail jobs if widely adopted. However, the company has not confirmed whether or not more Amazon Go stores are on the way, so the Seattle location could simply be a novelty.
However, cashier-less convenience stores are just one example of the changes that could be forthcoming in the future of shopping.
One development that will likely be a part of the future of shopping is a decrease in plastic packaging. Countries all over the world are putting their foot down when it comes to plastic waste, and that change is likely to affect future shopping experiences.
Other technologies being tested for shopping environments include electricity-generating walkways and air-cleaning filters. At CES 2018, Toyota even launched a concept car that drives the store right to shoppers.
The way we purchase everything from clothing to potato chips could drastically change within the next few years. Time will tell if Amazon Go’s innovations are among the technologies to stick.