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Amazon confirms its checkout-free grocery store will sell alcohol

By midian182 ยท 6 replies
Feb 22, 2017
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  1. Back in December, Amazon unveiled its vision for the grocery industry: Amazon Go. A concept store in Seattle with no lines, checkouts, or registers, all thanks to its “Just Walk Out Technology,” which lets shoppers pick up goods from the shelves and leave.

    Amazon says the system is made possible using machine learning, cameras, computer vision, deep learning algorithms and sensor fusion similar to what is found in self-driving cars. It may be virtually removing the human element from the store, but there’s one area where employees are still needed: checking the IDs of people buying alcohol.

    Recode’s Jason Del Rey spotted a flyer in the store’s window that mentioned an application for a liquor license. Amazon confirmed its store would start selling beer and wine, and it will have someone there to make sure buyers are legally old enough to purchase the alcohol.

    “When we start offering beer and wine, there will be an associate checking identification,” wrote an Amazon spokesperson.

    Customers use the store by scanning the Amazon app as they enter. Anything taken from the shelves is added to their account’s virtual cart. You can even put items back if you change your mind and it will be removed from your online cart. Once you leave the store, you’ll be billed through your account - just like when purchasing directly from Amazon.com.

    The store is currently in a testing phase and is restricted to employee visits only. Amazon says it will open to the public in early 2017.

    Permalink to story.

  2. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 3,160   +1,413

    The idea of a checkout free grocery store has been around for a long time - but the way we were told it could be done was with RFID tags. Just put a tag on every item and your cart can show you a running total of what's in it. Then pay at a kiosk. You could even bring your own bags and put the groceries right from the shelf into the bags! (it is pretty silly to move your groceries so many times from the shelf to you car)

    And how to get around the extra cost of the RFID tags on each item? Do what they do with beer bottles - charge a little more and offer a small refund when they bring them back. People pay for convenience all the time anyway - they won't mind.

    But motion sensor cameras and 'deep learning algorithms' and 'self driving car tech' I think you're way overthinking this, Amazon.
  3. Catweazle

    Catweazle TS Booster Posts: 68   +65

    What would stop someone from just walking in, loading up their cart and walking out without using the app? I don't see how this would work without security guards at the very least.
  4. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,388   +5,016

    The very same device that has kept you from walking out without paying the last 20+ years.
  5. Catweazle

    Catweazle TS Booster Posts: 68   +65

    The "devices" that currently keep people from walking out of stores without paying for stuff are called store employees and security, aka humans. It sounded like this store wouldn't have any employees, you just walk in, pick stuff up and walk out. The app on your phone is supposed to keep track of what you pick up and charge you for it. I was asking how they are going to stop people from just not using any app and walking out with stuff. I imagine they will have to at least have a few people working there to keep an eye on things.
  6. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,388   +5,016

    If you have never seen a theft prevention system that detects when someone has taken a product that hasn't been paid for, there is no chance of explaining how this system can be integrated.
    Yynxs likes this.
  7. Yynxs

    Yynxs TS Addict Posts: 201   +78

    Liquor and auto pay. What could go wrong?

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