After nearly a full year of delays, Amazon Go is finally opening to the public in Seattle, Washington on Monday.
The online mega-retailer’s first-ever grocery store is fully automated, meaning it doesn’t employ cashiers, negating checkout stations, registers and long line wait times. Instead, customers swipe their Amazon app to enter the store and the company’s “Just Walk Out” technology takes care of the rest. Algorithms and sensors keep track of what people take off and put back on the shelves, creating a virtual shopping cart for each person. When shoppers have everything they need, they simply leave the store and their cart-full of items is billed to their Amazon account.
“The coolness of the technology will undoubtedly get people to check it out,” National Association of Convenience Stores spokesperson Jeff Lenard told the Los Angeles Times. “But the quality is what will get them to come back.”
Customers swipe their Amazon app to enter the store and the company’s “Just Walk Out” technology takes care of the rest.
For the past year, only employees were allowed to test out the website’s new technology — which Amazon does not plan on implementing at Whole Foods locations, CNBC reported.
If shoppers notice an error on their charges or are unhappy with a purchase, they can simply tap the “refund” button on their receipt within the Amazon Go app — no returns necessary. This method is based on the honor system, with people looking to take advantage thought to be in the minority, Amazon said.
Although there are no cashiers, the store still hired “associates” to greet customers, prepare ready-to-eat food items, stock shelves and assist customers.
“The system is very accurate,” Dilip Kumar, Amazon Go’s technology vice president, said.
The 1,800-square-foot store is not completely employee-free. Although there are no cashiers, the store still hired “associates” to greet customers, prepare ready-to-eat food items, stock shelves and assist customers. But any potential expansion plans Amazon may have could eliminate a substantial number of jobs.
More than 3.5 million people were employed as cashiers as of May 2016, according to the Department of Labor — 900,000 of them in grocery stores. But as a company, Amazon is hiring thousands of new employees, increasing by 40% year to year, CNBC reported.