On Monday, January 22, Amazon will achieve a new milestone in its mission to dominate the modern retail landscape. Early that morning, Amazon will open its first Amazon Go store. Unlike a traditional grocery store, the Amazon Go store will forego checkout counters, cashiers and frustrating checkout lines. By making checkout counters obsolete, Amazon hopes to create a usher in a bold new era for the grocery industry. Though it may take some getting used to, this automated grocery store should provide a convenient shopping experience that is supremely appealing to most people. Though it remains to be scene if Amazon’s new store will be successful, few people have succeeded in betting against Amazon so far.
To shop at an Amazon Go store, you first install the appropriate app on your phone or device. Next, scan in your phone as you enter the store. After physically collecting all of the groceries, simply exit the store and head home. As you leave the store, Amazon automatically totals your items and sends you an electronic receipt. The total cost of your items is simultaneously charged to your Amazon account. According to the company, this system is made possible by the same technologies found in driverless vehicles, including facial recognition.
Initially announced at the end of December, the Amazon Go store was originally supposed to open its doors in 2017. However, this opening was delayed due to technical challenges. Housed in a massive space, Amazon’s new grocery story promises to be a luxurious facility. The space will feature ready-to-eat meals from Amazon’s chefs. Additionally, this store will offer meals and snacks from favorite local bakeries and restaurants. Shoppers will also find artisanal cheeses and chocolates from local confectioners. With such a diverse selection of goods, it seems likely that this store will appeal to a large cross-section of the public. The full automation of the grocery store has been forecast for quite some time. Forecasted or not, this process may still unsettle traditional modes of employment. As automation eliminates traditional jobs like cashiering, society will have to reckon with the social cost.
Though this new store will not employ any cashiers, plenty of Amazon employees will be on hand to answer customer questions. The Amazon Go Store is only the latest way that Amazon has moved aggressively to challenge brick-and-mortar grocery stores. Since 2016, Amazon acquired Whole Foods and began offering pickup service for its Amazon Fresh department, which is also located in Seattle.