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A shopper scans a smartphone app associated with his Amazon account and credit card information to enter the Amazon Go store in Seattle
Image: A shopper scans a smartphone app associated with his Amazon account and credit card information to enter the Amazon Go store in Seattle. REUTERS/Jeffrey Dastin

Amazon Opens First Checkout Free Supermarket

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Image: A shopper scans a smartphone app associated with his Amazon account and credit card information to enter the Amazon Go store in Seattle. REUTERS/Jeffrey Dastin

Amazon has now opened the doors to its very first supermarket that allows shoppers to “just walk out.” The technology is designed to eliminate queues as shoppers can take what they want, leave and automatically pay.

The Future of Grocery Shopping

The checkout-free grocery store first opened to the public on Monday. It represents Amazon’s next step in an ongoing experiment that could completely revolutionize the current standard in brick and mortar retail.

The supermarket in question is called Amazon Go and was opened in Seattle. The “just walk out” technology utilizes a number of different sensors and cameras to collect information on what shoppers have taken down from the shelves, what they return to the shelves and what they bring with them when they leave the shop. This abolishes the requirement for lining up, scanning items and paying via cash register.

Instead, customers pay for their purchases by way of a credit card they already have within their account. Their account is stored within the Amazon Go mobile app which is detected automatically within the store.

Through the Amazon Go Turnstyle

Customers entering the Amazon Go store must have the app installed in their smartphones in order to be able to enter the shop in the first place. To get in, customers scan the app and are given access to the store through a turnstyle.

Once a customer is inside the store, if he or she places an item in his or her cart, it’s added to a digital cart as well. If the item is returned to the shelf, it is also taken back out if the digital cart. When a shopper is finished and heads back out through the store’s gates, that individual is automatically charged on his or her Amazon Go account by way of the app.

Tomorrow’s Standard?

Grocery stores are watching this technology as it could potentially be the next big shakeup headed in their direction. They are already replacing many human-operated checkout counters with self-checkout options but the checkout-free process would allow them to reduce their worker numbers even further.

That said, this won’t be happening within the immediate future. Amazon still hasn’t even stated whether or not it will be rolling out the technology into other locations, larger stores, or the Whole Foods stores it owns.

Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of Alvexo on the matter.