The online shopping giant is now going into high streets around the world. It is starting with physical stores in the USA with a London site just announced. The shops on the face of it look just like any other store, except when you walk in you are met with a completely different shopping experience.
When you enter the store the first thing you are met with is entrance gates similar to those found in train stations. To enter you must first download the app and sign in to your Amazon account, which gives you a bar code that you then scan at the barriers. Then you are free to simply walk through gates and begin shopping.
Once through the gates, immediately you notice that there are no registers or checkouts. You simply walk in, pick up what you want, then walk out. Amazon is calling the shopping experience, ‘just walk out.’ This makes it very attractive for a few reasons, the main one being that you will never have to wait in line to buy your shopping.
The process works by utilising the same technologies found in self-driving cars, like deep learning, sensor fusion, and computer vision. The technology is able to detect when products are taken off the shelves, and by which customer, and it even knows if you put something back. After you leave the store you are immediately sent a receipt from your Amazon account confirming your purchases.
Could this be the future of high street shopping? Well, Amazon claims to have filed a patent in 2015 that is vague in its details, however it outlines the process of exiting a store and the system then triggers a receipt to the shopper. It is unknown however if amazon is able to patent the whole process of just walk out style shopping.