It's less than a month into 2018 — and while technology hasn't advanced to the point where we're all zooming around in flying cars just yet, we do finally have checkout line-less supermarkets. Well, one checkout line-less supermarket to be exact: After its initial announcement back in December of 2016, Amazon has finally opened its cutting edge supermarket's doors to the Seattle public.
This morning potential shoppers were able to get a sneak peek into what Amazon Go's futuristic shopping experience actually looks like, thanks to the above Today Show video. Customers are greeted with sleek turnstiles that only grant entry upon the scanning of a smartphone's Amazon Go app. Once inside the store, shoppers grab their items and are automatically charged for them when they walk back out of the store without ever waiting in line to pay. It's all made possible by the company's "Just Walk Out" technology that tracks and totals each customer's items in a virtual cart that is automatically charged upon departure. What makes this futuristic technology possible? A heavy-duty surveillance system made up of a network of cameras and sensors.
Aside from learning that there aren't immediate plans to expand this technology into other areas (or Whole Foods locations) across the country — here five major takeaways from Amazon Go's futuristic grocery shopping experience:
1. It doesn't look futuristic.
Amazon's cutting edge supermarket doesn't look much different than a regular old supermarket, aside from the sleek entry and exit turnstiles.
2. There are cameras everywhere.
The ceilings are covered with some serious surveillance — AKA a "highly accurate" camera system that monitors your every shopping move to help determine what you're taking off shelves and walking out of the store with.
3. Amazon claims that new technology does not replace grocery store jobs.
Gianna Puerini, an Amazon VP, claims that the new grocery concept is not replacing jobs but "shifting the kind of work that folks do," with a team of chefs cooking up and supplying store products in addition to an in-store (orange uniform-clad) task force of customer experience reps.
4. It's not more expensive than other grocery stores.
Although the store's shopping process may be next-level, price points are meant to be on par with other grocery chains — it shells out both brand name goods along with Amazon's private Wickedly Prime label.
5. Sensors on the shelves track your purchase preferences.
Not only does Amazon's "Just Walk Out" technology track and total each item that you remove from the shelf for purchase, but it also collects the data on that item — taking note not only of your most personal grocery preferences, but also which items leave the shelves and which are put back.
Until we can hop on a plane cross country to Seattle to shop for ourselves, we'll just have to take note of the Twittersphere's commentary on the modern and line-less shopping experience (from informative to amusing):