After five years of development and 14 months of testing by Amazon employees, Amazon Go, a convenience store without cashiers that automatically charges customers for items, opened its doors to the public this morning.
Located on the ground floor of Amazon’s downtown Seattle headquarters, the 1,800-square-foot brick-and-mortar store joins a series of the company’s forays into brick-and-mortar retail, from the opening of a chain of bookstores to the acquisition of Whole Foods Market.
What sets apart Amazon Go from other stores is automatic payments, made possible by a network of hundreds of cameras in the space that track shoppers’ movements via machine learning and link their selections to their Amazon accounts via the Amazon Go app. (You have to have all of this set up before you can shop in the store, scanning a code generated by the app when you enter through the turnstiles.)
Customers can simply load their items into a bag and walk through what looks like a subway gate to exit, and they’ll automatically receive a charge and receipt for the items they’ve picked up. No cashiers, no checkout lines.
Although Amazon Go just opened this morning, some outlets had early access to the store and reported their experiences. Here’s what we’ve learned so far about what it’s like to shop at Amazon Go.