What's going on?
Imagine buying groceries from a store that doesn’t have any lines – ever! Amazon Go is making it happen – and the implications for other retailers could be enormous.
What does this mean?
You can kiss goodbye to scanning your groceries at the checkout counter (tweet this). Starting in early 2017 customers at a physical Amazon grocery store in Seattle will be able to scan their smartphones on their way into the store, shop for their desired groceries and just walk out. The store will be fitted out with sensor visions and deep learning algorithms (a.k.a. “artificial intelligence”) that will track what shoppers bring out of the store with them, and charge them via the Amazon Go app. Amazon calls it “Just Walk Out” technology (you can see a video explaining it all here).
Why should I care?
The bigger picture: Technology could kill checkout lines… as well as companies that don’t get rid of them.
Kroger, Tesco and other grocers could be facing a serious new threat – wouldn’t we all rather buy our food from places without lines? But the implications are even bigger: soon we’ll be demanding that coffee shops and burger joints – and pretty much all stores – have no lines (and, yes, Starbucks, McDonald’s, and lots of other stores are already working on it).
For markets: When a company creates technology, there are loads of previously unimaginable overlapping benefits (a.k.a. synergies).
In an age where every company is becoming a tech company, there is a huge amount of opportunity for engineers to use their tech to disrupt multiple industries. For example, Amazon is selling food in-store by using some of the same technology that’s used to power autonomous cars and its virtual personal assistant, Alexa. Amazon’s expertise in technology allows it to threaten existing retailers, grocery stores, automakers and others, all at the same time – talk about synergies for Amazon’s business lines.