Welcome to the supermarket of the future… one where there are no checkouts.
Amazon Go opens its doors to the paying public on Monday and there’s not a till in sight, not even a self-service one.
The supermarket in Seattle relies on the latest technology to track shoppers are they move through the store picking up items they want.
Sensors on the shelves add goods to the bill as customers pick them up – and removes any from their virtual basket any they put back.
Amazon staff have been testing the systems for the past year and insiders have reported a few teething problems, such as when items are replaced later on the “wrong” shelves.
But the company, famous for its online marketplace, is confident tweaks have now ironed out any flaws.
The store is open to anyone with the Amazon Go smartphone app and a linked Amazon account. Customers open the app as they enter, and the virtual basket is added to as they moved around.
Purchases are billed to customer Amazon accounts as they leave the store. It’s called “Just Walk Out” shopping.
Gianna Puerini, head of Amazon Go, said the store had operated well during the test phase: “This technology didn’t exist – it was really advancing the state of the art of computer vision and machine learning.”
While the store does have staff on hand to help with questions and to restock shelves, the days of waiting in line for a cashier to become available appear to be numbered.
An array of ceiling-mounted cameras track shoppers and items, while there is a dedicated staff member at the alcohol section to check age ID.
The shop opened to Amazon employees in December 2016 in a test phase. At the time, the company said it expected members of the public could begin using the store in early 2017 but that was delayed.
Puerini has said that they will focus on getting this Seattle store absolutely working well before considering opening others – or expanding the technology to its newly-acquired network of Whole Foods stores.
Amazon Go is the latest in the push from the online retail giant into the “bricks-and-mortar” arena.
It already has a number of physical book shops – some 13 of them in the US – and a number of pop-up shops have opened.