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Amazon Go, the checkout-free convenience store, opens in Chicago

Amazon’s revolutionary “grab-and-go” grocery store is now open in Chicago, marking its first expansion of the cashier-less stores outside of the company’s home city of Seattle, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Rumors that Amazon may introduce its stores to new markets started swirling after job ads indicating the company was looking for people to manage the new Amazon Go stores in Chicago and San Francisco were discovered by The Seattle Times. Amazon later confirmed to the Times that it was indeed planning to open Go stores in Chicago and San Francisco, but declined to offer any dates. Now, the Chicago store is open for business.

Amazon didn’t do a great job keeping its plans under wraps. The company had a building permit for the construction of an “Amazon store” in Chicago’s Loop district, according to real-estate tracker Curbed. It was also discovered that Amazon has been planning to open up a store near San Francisco’s Union Square, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Amazon Go technology tracks shoppers as they make their way around the store. All they need to do is scan their Go app once when they enter, and, well, that’s it. The store uses sensors, cameras, and artificial intelligence technology to track what you’re putting into your bag as you move about the store. It’s even smart enough to notice when you take an item out of your bag and put it back on the shelf, should you change your mind while you’re making your way around.

The company spent the whole of 2017 testing the technology with employees, using the trial to refine the system before the official opening at the start of this year. It has since opened several other locations around Seattle.

For visitors to the store, it’s a one-of-a-kind shopping experience, with some even wondering if they might be arrested for shoplifting when leaving, without any apparent payment transaction having taken place. But it has. Check your Go app and you’ll see how Amazon has logged everything in your bag and automatically charged your account.

Interested to know what it’s like to shop at an Amazon Go store? Digital Trends’ Jenny McGrath was one of the first people to shop at the Seattle store, so take a moment to find out how it went for her.

Updated on September 17: Amazon Go opens in Chicago. 

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