The multi-billion dollar online retailer Amazon, who first launched its first shop in late 2016, promises to revolutionise the way people shop. The online retailer is certainly no stranger to changing the market and they seem to have done it again with this new concept.
The premise is as simple as it is unconventional. Amazon Go is a shop with no check out where customers simply walk out with products that are automatically charged to their Amazon account. Customers simply scan their Amazon Go app when entering the shop, choose their favourite products and walk out. This system promises a quick and more efficient shopping experience, eliminating scanning and queuing time. Shortly after leaving the shop, customers receive their receipt. You guessed it: it is all in the app!
There are a lot of questions surrounding this new shopping experience. Starting from how does it actually work for them and is it safe? Amazon Go is built on a new advanced technology which uses what they call “computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning”. Meaning every shelf is equipped with sensors that detect when products are removed and added. At the same time, the cameras placed in the shop will scan the products and add it to your receipt. In terms of safety, while the cameras in the shop are pretty accurate, you might accidentally shoplift as some products might not be scanned appropriately. Because every product gets scanned and added to your account, you can’t help other shoppers by reaching higher shelves or by holding their products as these would likely be charged to your account.
Other safety questions still remain unanswered such as what happens if your phone with an amazon go app is stolen? Or if you spend more than your balance on the account? While the shop does have Amazon staff in the premises making sure all is running smoothly, they are not likely to check all apps and prevent shoplifting. This means there is a lot of improvements that will have to come from the headquarters before they launch their next 6 shops and eventually move their venture worldwide.
Another question that naturally surrounds Amazon Go is does it serve its purpose? Or is it changing customer behaviour before they even know there is a demand for it? We have asked you a few questions to find out your point of view on the matter. We asked you if queuing to pay in a shop frustrates you. Of the 1244 people asked, a somewhat surprising 68% declared they don’t mind as long as the queue is moving. Whereas 22% said it frustrates them a lot and only 10% are unaffected by queues.
Clearly queuing is somewhat an issue for many and companies such as Amazon are trying to overcome it through technology. When it comes to queuing, however, Amazon Go has not necessarily reached its purpose as of yet. Since its first opening in Seattle, the entrance queues to scan your Amazon Go app have been very long. Which has lead to a plethora memes and internet trolls showing the irony of the set up. While it might eliminate queuing when exiting the shop, in fact, people still have to wait in line to be granted access.
The opening times at the moment are also a potential issue as the Amazon Go shop is currently only open during the week between 7am and 9pm. Meaning they will not be open during weekends, when most people usually shop. This is likely to change as the popularity of Amazon Go increases over time but it is a potential issue as of now.
While the Amazon Go premise is a success does it really answer everybody’s needs? We asked you about your opinion on the matter. Of the 1022 people asked 53% would not be interested in a store where products are automatically charged to a person’s account. Affirming they would rather queue at the checkout instead. Amazon Go might be too much too soon, and, like every great idea it might be something we will have to get used to and eventually be dependent on.
One thing is for certain, however, customer behaviour and the way businesses are offering customer service is changing. While many businesses used to put their relationship with customers at the highest possible level, multinationals want to offer a more solitary, quick and efficient way of spending.