For those who wondered how long until artificial intelligence begins changing the customer shopping experience that day is already here. With the recent launch of the Amazon Go cashier-less Seattle store long lines and waiting are a thing of the past. These shop and go supermarkets allow consumers the convenience of picking up items, and leaving the store without ever having to stop and pay.
Store customers sign up for an Amazon account, download the Amazon Go App before shopping, and scan a QR code. Stores are equipped with AI advanced sensors. When customers pick up items sensors detect it, as well as when customers put items back on the shelf. Also eliminated is the need to return items. Customers can receive a refund on an item without ever returning to the store. It’s a futuristic method of shopping, but saves time and offers a high level of convenience to shop and go, without having to pay a cashier before leaving the store.
Most physical grocery stores are already equipped with automated machines for added convenience so the idea of a totally cashier-less shopping experience is not completely new. Consumers are already used to the convenience of online automated shopping when ordering groceries as well. The idea of a store loaded with sensors and AI technology is new, but represents added savings to the customer and the business as it reduces shop lifting, and adds safety to stores.
The Amazon Go store in Seattle, Washington is the only cashier-less store, linked to the app, currently open to the public. Others are undoubtedly on the way, and may introduce a higher level of automation in the grocery industry as a whole. Amazon Go stores will not be void of employees. Employees are still needed to stock shelves, and oversee other sections of the store, such as the beer and wine section. Many labor advocates point to automation as a loss of jobs across industries, such as in fast food, and manufacturing, but Amazon points out previous positions will simply be absorbed into new positions. This may increase as needs and technologies advance. In a marketplace with varied products and services, it is ultimately consumers who decide what changes and shopping experiences are acceptable.