Besides actually walking up and down the aisles, waiting for my cold cuts to be sliced or not being able to find the last two items on my list, waiting online to checkout is definitely one of my least favorite parts of going grocery shopping.
Intelligent individuals tried remedying this in the past by putting “self-checkout” stations into play, causing us all to pick up part time jobs as a cashier at our local grocer.
Let’s be real here; those things never work. You have to constantly “place item in baggage area” because the machine is glitched or cannot keep up with your incredible swiping ability. Every 10 seconds something else goes malfunctions and a cashier that these stores opted out of paying to stand in this designated area now needs to stand in said designated area and type in his or her 42 digit code to bypass the faulty computer. Or it takes the woman in front of you a half hour to get through this quick, convenient alternative.
Amazon however, is changing the game here. They woke up one morning and decided to use their powers for good and put an end to this whole checking out thing. The online retailer claims that in their new Amazon Go stores, you will not be required to check out. Consumers instead will simply open their Amazon Go app, swipe a turnstile, and have at it. If you pick up an item, the app will recognize that and add it to your electronic cart as it is actually added to your real life human cart. If you decide you’d rather not buy the item, it is subtracted from your order immediately, and you may travel on to the frozen food section.
Amazon states that this new technology will combine computer vision, sensor function, and deep learning.
“Our Just Walk Out technology,” they say “automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart. When you’re done shopping, you can just leave the store. Shortly after, we’ll charge your Amazon account and send you a receipt.”
To note, this will undoubtedly cause consumers to overbuy as money is truly no (tangible) object – until we are home and putting the excess ice cream away – but it is still a step in the right direction, using technology to really convenience us all.
Though I am not a huge fan of people-tracking technology (which Amazon does quite well already), I’d have to admit that this is pretty cool. The less human interaction I can come across at the grocery store, the more likely I will be to go out and pick things up instead of ordering Seamless…again.
It does worry me that Amazon is beginning to know far too much about our personal lives, but I suppose people were skeptical about all great inventions initially. I’m not saying that Amazon knowing what type of apples I prefer will give up my children’s identity, nor am I saying that bypassing the 14 year old boy with acne bagging your groceries is the new age penicillin, but it is advancements like these – every day anomalies – that truly show how far technology can advance in future years. Stay tuned to see what Amazon does next, but, for now, paper or plastic?