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The biggest story in retail this week has been the opening of a store that could be an insight into the future of shopping. On Monday, Amazon opened their first Amazon Go convenience store in Seattle, the city where the e-commerce giant was founded. The shop has a unique concept - there are no checkouts.
Customers simply pick up items they want from the shelves and put them directly into their shopping bag. They are charged for the products when they take them out of the store, via the Amazon Go app. Amazon is trialing innovative image sensor technology, involving overhead cameras which can recognise items as they are moved around the shop, as an alternative to the traditional barcode system.
There may not be any checkout lines at the Amazon Go store, but that doesn’t mean customers won’t need to queue. There is so much interest in the experiment that locals are queuing down the street to give it a try.
Much of the media coverage since the launch has questioned whether it’s a concept that could be rolled out worldwide, or more of a PR gimmick. Amazon’s denial of rumours that the Go technology will be implemented in Whole Foods stores suggests checkout lines probably won’t be a thing of the past by this time next year. However, the idea is a natural next step after the introduction of self-service checkouts, which are already found in most major supermarkets around the UK.
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