On the 5th of December 2016, Amazon opened its first supermarket, Amazon Go: an (urban) on-the-go supermarket with its shelves literally packed with technology. For instance, by taking the products from the shelf, you automatically add them to the virtual shopping basket in the Amazon Go app. Soon after you leave the store, the items in your basket are paid for through Amazon Payments, without you having to do a thing. So no more waiting in line and even self-checkout is a thing of the past.
Being the (technological) innovation buff I am, my initial reaction when seeing this was: Wow! All the knowledge of Amazon, with all the algorithms, applied to a bricks-and-mortar store! But I’m also a critic by nature and my second reaction was: “What is Amazon aiming to achieve and, more importantly, how does Amazon Go benefit the customer?”
To answer at least the second part of that question, the benefit is that you can do your on-the-go grocery shopping in no time flat and avoid the hassle of queuing up at the checkout. Sounds fantastic! I’m that guy who always manages to join exactly the wrong line, so you can imagine how I feel. As far as doing the actual shopping, I’m a firm believer in far-reaching automation. After all, grocery shopping is a necessary evil we want to get over with as quickly as possible. Or in other words: run-shopping. Anything that can speed up the process makes me, mister impatient, very happy indeed: contactless payments, self-checkouts, great!