Amazon has opened a small grocery store in Seattle where customers don’t have to checkout with the items they buy. Instead, customers will scan the store’s app as they walk in and sensors on shelves, along with cameras in the ceiling, will detect items taken from shelves and automatically charge customers when they leave the store.
The store is stocked mainly with pre-packaged goods and ready-made meals. Every item you remove from the shelf is added to your “virtual” shopping cart. The store’s sensors are able to detect when you’ve picked something up and if you’ve put it back. When you leave the store, the app sends you a push notification with your receipt.
Even though the store is cashier-less, there are plenty of employees in the store restocking shelves and checking ID near the alcohol, for example. Greeters are located outside handing out reusable shopping bags and answering questions.
The store is small in size for a grocery store – around 1,800 square feet. It’s located on the ground floor of Amazon’s corporate skyscraper in Seattle. The company hasn’t revealed too many details about the technology, but it denies using facial recognition software to track customers and their purchases. The ceiling is lined with about 100 square black cameras.
Something else that is conspicuously missing from the store is small talk. “At the end of the day, the people who are shaping the world work in technology, and they are more comfortable with [automation] instead of small talk,” Bassem Bejjani, a local said. But, thinking about the human interaction he says he has with employees at his regular market, Bejjani said, “I think I would miss that.”