Online retail giant Amazon has launched the first Amazon Go, a convenience store without any cashiers or checkout counters, according to a report by Natt Garun of the Verge.
Amazon Go works through a combination of cameras, sensors, and an app linked to a customer's Amazon account. Customers scan the app upon entering the store, select the items they would like to purchase, and then leave the store without ever having to touch their wallet or bother with a checkout line. Sensors at the door scan the items as a customer leaves and then send the data to the app.
"It'll feel like shoplifting, except you're actually being watched by more cameras than you can imagine," Garun joked.
Amazon launches a beta of Go, a cashier-free, app-based retail shopping experience https://t.co/rxfkgpxwIQ by @bheater
— TechCrunch (@TechCrunch) December 5, 2016
The 1,800-square-foot Amazon Go store is located in Seattle, Washington, where Amazon is based. It is currently in a beta phase and is open only to Amazon employees. It is expected to open to the public in early 2017.
The store will sell many items commonly found at convenience stores and gas stations.
"We offer delicious ready-to-eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack options made fresh every day by our on-site chefs and favorite local kitchens and bakeries," says the Frequently Asked Questions page dedicated to the new store on the Amazon.com website. "Our selection of grocery essentials ranges from staples like bread and milk to artisan cheeses and locally made chocolates. You'll find well-known brands we love, plus special finds we're excited to introduce to customers."
Amazon Meal Kits are among the "special finds" Amazon Go is looking to introduce to more customers.
"For a quick home-cooked dinner, pick up one of our chef-designed Amazon Meal Kits, with all the ingredients you need to make a meal for two in about 30 minutes," the FAQ page continues.
Amazon announced plans to delve into the meal-kit delivery services market back in March, Eater's Lina Tran reported at the time. Those plans involved a partnership with Tyson Foods.
Meal-kit delivery services generate billions of dollars in revenue annually.
"Despite criticism that Blue Apron and like-minded businesses are extravagances with weighty environmental impacts, Blue Apron sells over 9 million meals a month and is valued at $2 billion," Tran noted. "The New York Times announced its own foray into the meal kit business last week."
Blue Apron and Marley Spoon offer "four family-sized" meal kits for about $140.
Tyson CEO Donald Smith said the use of "premium meats" would distinguish Amazon's "chef-inspired" meal kits from those of its competitors.
"We'll teach them about the cuts of meat and where they come from," Smith is quoted as saying in the Eater article. "We'll help pre-cut, trim, dry age, smoke, marinate, and do the prep so all they have to do is cook it. And then we'll inspire them to explore and cook with ingredients that they may have never used before."
Amazon Go store is checkout free: Amazon is testing a grocery store model in Seattle that work.. #business #news https://t.co/2rc4GqaOPs
— Go Viral (@gv9871) December 5, 2016
In regards to the question "Why did you build Amazon Go?" Amazon says it was looking to "push the boundaries" of related technologies.
"Four years ago we asked ourselves: what if we could create a shopping experience with no lines and no checkout?" the FAQ page explains. "Could we push the boundaries of computer vision and machine learning to create a store where customers could simply take what they want and go? Our answer to those questions is Amazon Go and Just Walk Out Shopping."
The Amazon Go store is located at 2131 7th Avenue, Seattle, Washington, on the corner of 7th Avenue and Blanchard Street. If the public launch goes well, Amazon will presumably open other Amazon Go locations.[Featured Image by David McNew/Getty Images]