It will be interesting to see how Amazon integrate some of their other new technologies into the Go stores. E.g. Amazon Prime Air, a delivery system designed to get packages to customers in 30 mins or less using unmanned aerial vehicles aka drones. It would certainly make the journey home a lot easier.
Amazon are also exploring technology to produce ready meals that do not need refrigeration. The pioneering technology, known as microwave assisted thermal sterilisation (or MATS), involves placing sealed packages of food in pressurised water and heating them with microwaves for several minutes. Sounds appetising, right? If the technology is successful, it will help the company build on their AmazonFresh food delivery service and will complement the acquisition of Whole Foods nicely.
However, it’s not all plain sailing. So far, Amazon Go have only opened one store (in Seattle) and 6 months in, the pilot store is still in beta testing and open to employees only, with technical problems providing barriers to branching out. Earlier this year, the technology struggled with customer capacity, only able to track 20 people at one time before the system crashed. It’s also said that Amazon Go is not accumulating enough data from their one store location to be able to tackle potential thefts and issues that may occur at further stores.
Others debate that although checkout lines can be a pain, Amazon Go are removing an integral part of the shopping experience: when customers assess, and sometimes reconsider, their purchases in the queue, having the time to think twice before handing over their money.
Techinical issues aside, the potential for Amazon Go is huge. Globally 56% of people already shop at Amazon.com, with Japan, Italy, UK, US and Germany reaching above 90%; so the question remains… have Amazon tapped into the future of shopping? It’s hard to think otherwise, and, before long, there could be an Amazon Go at the end of every street. But until that day comes, we’ll have to wait patiently in the queue.