In Amazon go: when shopping crosses borders and opens the gateway to the future of retail
Today, technology is constantly on the move, including in retail. One revolutionary concept that has emerged is the idea of unmanned stores, where there is no need to interact with cashiers, scan merchandise or use traditional checkouts. One of the leading companies that has brought this idea to fruition is Amazon with its Amazon Go stores.
During my visit to Amazon’s main building in Seattle, I had the opportunity to try out this futuristic way of shopping. The concept is simple: customers come into the store, take what they want, and simply leave. The whole process is monitored by dozens of cameras and supported by artificial intelligence that identifies what customers have taken away and automatically charges it to their account.
My original intention to try out shopping like a thief ran into a sophisticated system that revealed my intentions. Instead of theatrically taking items off the shelf, I witnessed the technology working faster than I had anticipated. Beyond that, however, I was surprised that despite leaving the store without traditional payment, the system took an hour to deduct my bill.
This experience got me thinking about the new type of social contract we are creating with technology. In a regular store, the transaction is with a specific company representative, such as a salesperson. In Amazon Go stores, this clear moment of transaction has disappeared, creating uncertainty.
On the other hand, it shows that speed is a key factor in creating a positive shopping experience using AI. When the receipt arrives almost instantly, it alleviates the uncertainty of being charged correctly and closing the transaction with a new entity judging our behaviour.
While similar concepts are not yet common in the Czech Republic, some retailers are trying innovative solutions such as self-service checkouts and advanced payment systems. Thus, the future of shopping and interaction with technology may bring further innovations and changes in the way we perceive retail transactions.
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