Internet retailing powerhouse Amazon announced its latest venture into the physical marketplace. It is launching a new brick-and-mortar food market it is calling, Amazon GO. Amazon has forayd into various offline markets in recent years. They launched a physical bookstore in Seattle, and 4 more in cities around the country. The Amazon Go stores are advertised by Amazon as “compact”, at about 1,800 square feet, “so busy customers can get in and out fast”. In addition they will use technologies to eliminate lines, and the checkout process altogether.
Innovation in offline shopping.
Amazon is entering this market as a tech company, and they are leveraging technology to innovate in the industry. Their stores will feature “Just Walk Out Shopping”, meaning that there is no checkouts. Customers will be able to just grab items from the shelf and leave. Amazon will leverage “computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning” to track items. When an item is removed from the shelf, the system will know, and which customer grabbed it. When the customer leaves, Amazon Go will charge the customers Amazon account for the items(s) taken. The idea here is to end one of the biggest frustrations of shopping, waiting at the checkout line. It will also mean that you aren’t able to pay with cash. For most shoppers, this won’t be an issue.
Why enter such a crowded market?
These may seem to be strange steps for a company that has built its business on online shopping. They are entering a market where there is already tons of competition. But When I look at it, the moves actually make sense. Amazon is a powerhouse brand. Taking that name offline may actually prove quite profitable for the company. It is also more exposure for the brand, which when done right is never bad. Another suspicion that I have, is that other Amazon products and services will be baked into the Amazon Go project. Additionally, as indicated through its advertising materials for Amazon Go, the company believes it can leverage its technological skills, to create a better experience for its customers.
When we will get to try it?
Amazon is testing their first Go market in Seattle. Unfortunately its only open to Amazon employees, for now. They expect that their Seattle store will open to the public in early 2017. They are offering email notifications if you want to be informed. I would imagine that if they find success, and iron out the kinks, these stores will start popping up in large metropolitan areas soon after. It seems like a cool concept, and I look forward to trying it when I get the chance.
Amazon Go promotional video from Amazon