Amazon is reportedly considering expanding its cashier-free supermarkets, according to Bloomberg. As a result, Amazon Go could become one of the largest retail chains in America.
How does it work?
The stores use cameras and sensors to track the items taken from the shelves. A combination of computer vision algorithms allow shoppers to simply scan the app on a smartphone, grab items, and go.
The technology automatically charges the items to the shopper’s account and transforms shopping into a fully automated experience. While the initial costs are undoubtedly expensive, the investment has the potential to make human employees redundant.
Reinventing the shopping experience
Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos “sees eliminating meal-time logjams in busy cities as the best way for Amazon to reinvent the brick-and-mortar shopping experience,” according to Bloomberg. Most spending evidently occurs in cities, but Bezos is apparently “still experimenting with the best format.”
A widespread rollout plan for Amazon Go suggests the company has refined the tech involved in operating the stores, which costs approximately $1 million a store. An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment on the speculation.
The announcement follows reports that Microsoft is currently working on technology that has the capacity to power checkout free retail stores. It looks like Amazon’s rival are also attempting to enter the world of automated retail, but both companies declined to comment on the rumours.
A PR distraction?
The news comes amid another Amazon PR nightmare. Earlier this week, the tech giant made headlines as reports of its employees leaking sensitive data emerged.
According to allegations in the Wall Street Journal, employees offered internal data to help merchants increase their sales on the online marketplace. Amazon said it had “zero tolerance” for abuse of its organisation and added that it was conducting a thorough investigation.