Amazon is throwing open the doors to its first cashier-less grocery store, dubbed Amazon Go, in Seattle on Monday, January 22.
The company first revealed its plans for its futuristic retail experience back in December 2016, describing how you could simply waltz into a shop with your phone that has the company’s app installed, pick items off the shelves, and walk out without bothering to check them out; you’d simply be billed automatically via your Amazon account.
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Since then, it’s been trialing the store and its advanced computer vision tech (cameras installed along store shelves track the items you pick up); last March, it ran into technical difficulties when more than 20 people shopped simultaneously, and so had to delay the official launch. But it looks like Amazon has worked out those kinks and is now ready to let people give this a Go in downtown Seattle, where its shop occupies 1,800 square feet and offers everything from staples to snacks to alcohol.
As The New York Times notes, the store isn’t entirely devoid of human staff – just cashiers. You’ll find employees waiting to assist you in case you face any issues, as well as chefs preparing meals that you can buy, and others checking IDs before letting you grab bottles of liquor. Oh, and you’ll need the app in order to get past the subway-style barriers and begin shopping.
The company is keeping mum about whether it plans to open more Go stores, but if it’s keen on the concept, it’ll have competition to worry about. Last month, Recode reported that Walmart was working on a similar idea under the codename Project Kepler.
If you’re in Seattle and get a chance to visit Amazon Go, please let us know how your shopping went, in the comments.