Another blow to retail: Amazon’s automated store launch is a ‘Go’

Amazon Go, a system that allows stores to function without cashiers, debuts January 22

Jan.January 21, 2018 02:00 PM

(Credit: Amazon storefront photo by SounderBruce/Wikimedia Commons; right photo by Anthony Easton/Flickr)

Amazon’s cashier-free store is opening after a year of delays. Running off a new system called Amazon Go, the store is filled with cameras that allow the technology to track shoppers and identify the products they select and then charge their accounts.

Though the tech giant notes that cashiers would still be needed if items being sold included restricted products like alcohol, Go allows cashiers to be eliminated in a convenience store, which is the model that will officially open on the company’s Seattle campus on January 22, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The reason behind the delay in launching Go was reportedly due to the unexpected complexity of crowds of shoppers and identifying similar products. The system “learned” from Amazon employees over the past several months.

Though there are no plans to introduce the system into Amazon’s current brick-and-mortar ventures, such as its bookstores or Whole Foods, Dilip Kumar, vice president of technology for Go and Amazon Books, said the system was not just a test.

“We have this unwritten rule that whatever it is you’re building, you have to be able to scale it so that it covers significantly amount of more load than what you would normally ever expect,” he told the Journal. [WSJ]Erin Hudson

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