The first of these new brick-and-mortar experiments branded Amazon Go, is an 1800-square-foot retail space located in the company’s hometown of Seattle, lets shoppers just grab the items they want and leave; the order gets charged to their Amazon account afterwards.
Amazon Go works by using computer vision and sensors to detect what items you’re taking out of the store. You start by opening Amazon’s app on your smartphone and scanning a code into their turnstile as you enter the Amazon Go store. You do your normal shopping, and the sensors throughout the store identify the items in your cart and charge them to your Amazon account when you walk out the door. It’ll feel like shoplifting, except you’re actually being watched by more cameras than you can imagine.
The store will stock most items you’d find in a local convenience store: snacks, drinks, pre-made food like salads and sandwiches, and grocery essentials like bread and milk. It’ll also sell Blue Apron-like meal kits that let you cook your own dinners for two.
Though Amazon Go does do away with human cashiers, there are no robots physically stocking the store, so while it does eliminate some jobs, it’s not a completely automated system.
The store is currently open in beta to Amazon employees only. A public opening is scheduled for early 2017.
There are two other store formats that Amazon is considering. First is a much larger, multifunction store with curbside pickup options. The second option is a drive-through store, without any in-person browsing. Two of the drive-through prototypes are set to open in Seattle within the next few weeks.
There’s more information on this YouTube video.