Consumer Products

Is Amazon Go the future of retail…

By Sajith Wimalaratne - Last updated: Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Connected BarThis is dream come true for me. I have been thinking of the day where I can just walk into a supermarket, pickup my shopping and just walk out without queuing at the checkouts (but not in a shoplifting way obviously). Finally, Amazon has revealed plans for Amazon Go.

Amazon Go is a Just Walk Out shopping experience, where consumers can simply walk into a retail environment and pick up the items off the shelf and then walk out of the front door without needing to go through checkout.  But how does it all work? Shoppers tap their smartphone on a turnstile as they walk into the store, which logs them into the store’s network and connect their Amazon account through an app. Once the consumer walks out of the store with the items, their Amazon account is charged.

Sounds simple doesn’t it?

There are number of different technologies behind Amazon Go, namely, Machine learning, computer vision, artificial intelligence and deep learning algorithms. These are all areas that we’ve been working on in recent years, so it’s great to see Amazon being disruptive and putting them together to create a new shopping paradigm.

At present the service is only available to Amazon employees. Like any development pushing into new areas, or in this case pulling together so many different technologies, they are experimenting with this offering. ‘Try it and see’ a great way to move forward with these Internet of Things applications (or connected shop or whatever you’d like to call it), we need to know how people will respond, how the technology will interact. Something we discussed in a recent IoT workshop we held with some of our partners in the FMCG sector.

Connected supermarketThough many of us now (including me) now using online shopping, it will be interesting to see the acceptance of this concept, because going shopping to the supermarket or to the local market is a ritual for consumers. So it’s not just about the technology, the consumer experience needs to be thought out well in advance.

A year ago I was talking with my colleagues who lead our work in digital services, the question under discussion was, “What can IoT bring to the retail environment?” Amongst the concepts we came up with were the barmen-less bar and the connected supermarket. How cool would it be to walk into a bar and a kiosk pours your favourite drink on arrival.

So will Amazon Go become a physical version of online shopping? And is this what shoppers actually want? Watch this space.


AuthorSajith Wimalaratne

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