Innovation is no longer the domain of a chosen few companies and sectors. In an era of rapid technological and market change, companies of all sizes...
The fact that shoppers worldwide are increasingly on the go isn’t new news. We’ve known that mobile accessibility has been an increasingly critical element of the consumer experience for years now. Something is new, however: the possibility of grabbing products, walking out of a store and leaving without having to wait in line to pay. But we’ll get to that in a second. First, let’s look at some statistics.
Stats show that there is a vast gap between the wants and needs of consumers and the real-life retail possibilities. For example, 42% of consumers want the ability to credit coupons and discounts automatically, while only 16% of retailers can actually do that. And just 4% of retailers provide virtual smartphone apps that help consumers navigate their way in store. Accenture’s new survey of global shoppers reveals a rising intensity that is forcing companies to adapt more quickly to the shifting retail reality that defines the customer experience (RETAIL CONSUMER RESEARCH 2016).
And while many companies are lagging behind with regards to tending to consumer needs, some companies are really pushing boundaries. A few months ago we wrote about the American retailer Macy’s, who is experimenting with artificial intelligence by developing an in-store shopping assistant robot (https://www.sevendots.com/robots-selling-perfume-no-really/). The robots focus on answering frequently asked questions, providing store navigation, and connecting customers to the unique offerings and services at each location. Innovative, but still, at the end of your store visit you will have to go to the checkouts and pay.
That’s nice and all, but consumers want more. Consumers no longer just want less hassles, they want no hassles. And that is why Amazon is implementing new technology that eliminates lines, checkouts, and registers from the shopping experience altogether.
Four years ago, Amazon dared to ask a startling question: what would shopping look like if you could stroll into a store, grab what you wanted and then just leave. Now Amazon is actually implementing that vision. Their checkout-free shopping experience is made possible by the same types of technologies used in self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning. Their Just Walk Out technology automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart. When you’re done picking up the items that you want, you can just leave the store. It’s that simple. Shortly after, they will charge your Amazon account and send you a receipt.
The first Amazon Go store is located at 2131 7th Ave, Seattle, WA, on the corner of 7th Avenue and Blanchard Street. The store is currently open to Amazon employees in the Beta program, and will open to the public in early 2017. All you need is an Amazon account, a supported smartphone, and the free Amazon Go app. https://www.amazon.com/b?node=16008589011