San Francisco shoppers who fancy the idea of walking into a store, taking whatever they like, and walking out again, can now do just that with the opening of the first Amazon Go store in the city, at 300 California Street in the heart of the Financial District.
The checkout-free grocery store, which uses technology to track you as you shop and charges your account as you leave (ah yes, you do have to pay), launched in Amazon’s home city of Seattle in January 2018.
With Tuesday’s San Francisco opening, the company now has six Amazon Go stores operating, with three in Seattle and two in Chicago. The next opening could be in New York City, though Amazon has said it also has plans for another Go store in San Francisco before the end of the year.
To shop at the store, all you need to do is scan your Amazon Go app as you walk in. The store uses an array of sensors, cameras, and artificial intelligence technology to track what you put into your bag as you make your way around. An impressive feature — and a vital one if the store is to function successfully — is that it even knows when you take an item out of your bag and put it back on the shelf, should you change your mind during your shop. As you leave the store, the total cost of your items is automatically charged to your account.
A report in September suggested Amazon could be planning to open as many as 3,000 of its cashier-free stores in the U.S. by 2021, taking on a market that includes convenience chains and quick-service food stores, along with small independent outlets. The company appears to be interested in taking the unique shopping experience overseas, too, with a recent report suggesting the United Kingdom as a launch location.
But Amazon isn’t the only one working on the technology. Take Zippin, for example — the San Francisco-based startup recently launched its next-generation, checkout-free software that it could market to other retailers, a move that would really set the industry alight.
If you’re interested in finding out exactly what it’s like to shop at an Amazon Go, then check out Digital Trends’ experience when we visited the first Go store in Seattle soon after it opened in January.
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