Amazon is reverse engineering the offline-to-online transformation buy going from a pure online player to now launching physical real-world stores. They already know the online digital playing field and how to serve customers through behavioral data and smart algorithms, and now, with physical stores they may be a very disruptive force in retail and path the way for more disruptors to follow and challenge traditional retail.
Last November, Amazon opened its first real physical bookstore in Seattle, the company’s home city. And it has continued to open staffed pickup points at universities across the U.S. Earlier this year Amazon said they were planning to open up 400 physical bookstores with the first bookstores already open and operational in California, Oregon and Washington with Illinois and Massachusetts coming soon.
And today, Amazon announced the opening of its Amazon Go stores, where a range of groceries will be available in a highly automated digital first store environment using all the latest artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies.
Watch this promo video of how their Amazon Go grocery stores will work:
No lines. No checkout. No registers. No, seriously.
What is Amazon Go?
Amazon Go is a new kind of store with no checkout required. We created the world’s most advanced shopping technology so you never have to wait in line. With our Just Walk Out Shopping experience, simply use the Amazon Go app to enter the store, take the products you want, and go! No lines, no checkout. (No, seriously.)
The first store has opened in Seattle and limited to Amazon employees while in beta but expected to open up to the public (Amazon members of course) in early 2017.
All Amazon members need to do is install the Amazon Go app, and swipe the app as they enter the store. The artificial intelligent technology then does the rest and gives shoppers (hopefully) a unique digital shopping experience. Your virtual shopping cart fills automatically as you take products of the shelf and you just walk out when your done. Facial-recognition technology will be used to identify you personally to match you with your account.
Read the official FAQ page on Amazon Go for all the details.
Amazon explains why it created Amazon Go:
Four years ago we asked ourselves: what if we could create a shopping experience with no lines and no checkout? Could we push the boundaries of computer vision and machine learning to create a store where customers could simply take what they want and go?
Our answer to those questions is Amazon Go and Just Walk Out Shopping.
The future of brick-and-mortar grocery shopping is unfolding before our eyes. I hope retail will pay attention to these developments and try to learn from the pure players like Amazon on how to connect the offline and online shopping experience for a more holistic omni-channel experience. Traditional retails need to move (very) fast in order to out-smart these disruptive innovators who invent new games and play by new rules. Their rules!
Go! Before Amazon beats you to it.
A source of inspiration for this article was from the post today on Venture beat.