Amazon Launch ‘Checkout-less’ Store in Seattle

Having efficient till software is imperative for any business, no matter how big or small. However, Amazon have appeared to take the meaning of ‘efficiency’ to a whole new level by opening a brand-new checkout-less convenience store operated solely through an app.

Amazon Go, which opened earlier this week (Monday) in Seattle, functions much like a 7-Eleven, enabling shoppers to purchase small items such as groceries, snacks and toiletries while on the go. However, instead of queuing to use a self-service checkout or waiting to be physically served by a cashier, customer payments are made automatically by using the Amazon Go app.

This highly advanced and, quite frankly impressive technology works like this: upon entering, customers must present their Amazon Go app to gain access to the store. Once inside, shoppers’ movements are tracked by a variety of high-tech cameras and sensors that are placed along the store’s ceiling. Consequently, when a customer picks up an item to purchase, this is registered from above by the tracking technology, which then adds it to the customer’s virtual shopping basket. Ten minutes after the customer has finished their shopping and left the store, an automatic payment is made via the app, which charges a debit or credit card and issues a digital receipt.  It really is as simple as that!

Amazon is traditionally known as an online retailer; however, the arrival of this new store comes as part of the company’s larger plan to expand into offline services. Just last year, Amazon purchased the well-known American supermarket Whole Foods and made changes to its existing grocery service, Amazon Fresh, which now includes options such as kerbside collection and home delivery. The company also opened several books shops throughout the US, giving customers the opportunity to have a more traditional shopping experience.

However, shoppers visiting the Seattle store appeared to enjoy the ease of Amazon Go, its high-tech system having great appeal and transforming shopping into a more novel experience. “This feels like something really big” said Abrar Ali, who had nipped into the store to pick up his lunch. “It’s at the cutting edge of AI and machine learning and I wanted to experience it for myself.” Similarly, Paul Hamilton, a visitor from Slough in the UK, said “It was strange just walking out. Even though I knew how it worked, I wanted to look for [a] checkout.”

Although no concrete plans have been publicised for additional Amazon Go’s to be opened, clues that more stores are on the way have been spotted. For example, last December, the company’s advertisement for a real estate manager stated that their role would be to devise property plans, scope out potential sites for Amazon Go, and carry out tours of these sites to ensure they were suitable.

However, although Amazon Go has so-far been praised by customers for its incredibly easy high-tech system, the likelihood that checkout-less stores will soon outnumber traditional stores is not high. Self-service checkouts alone currently cost around $125,000, meaning that cameras and sensor technology are likely to be far too costly for the majority of businesses. Consequently, having a good EPOS system is both more viable and thus advisable for most growing businesses.