Amazon Go stores are set to open soon, designed to “disrupt” traditional stores and the shopping experience. Last Monday, an Amazon Go store was opened in Seattle, promising to be the future of shopping.
What Is It?
The stores are designed to have no waiting lines or checkout. Ironically, at their grand opening on Monday, the line wrapped around several blocks.
The “just walk out” technology may seem like an innovative concept to some, but for others, common sense may be fighting back. Your intuition was probably right — even the writers at CNBC were able to walk out with a stolen item on the very first day. When they reported this error as an apology to Amazon Go’s VP, they were forgiven and told that it was a “very rare” error.
The store works by automatically charging shoppers for the items in their bags. This is done through a virtual receipt that is kept as items are placed into your bag. As shoppers sign in with the Amazon Go app, the app keeps track of what is picked up and put back on the shelves. It only charges you for your final items that are calculated as you pass through sensing gates. There are no shopping carts, either. However, the stores are filled with cameras watching your every move. Phones are scanned “through a subway-station like turnstyle, connecting their presence in the store with their Amazon profile,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
The levels of data collection are another alarming flag. It is likely that the Amazon Go app collects much more of your information than you realize. Alvaro Bedoya, the executive director of the Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown University’s law school, warns that the new technology will track your every move while you are in a store, casting a dark shadow on the future of privacy.
New technology is changing the way we do everything, from dating to shopping. With Amazon Go stores, Amazon has fulfilled its promise made nine years ago to revolutionize shopping in physical locations. Look out for the inevitable expansion of stores to a location near you.
Have something to add to this story? Comment below or join the discussion on Facebook.
Header image: Getty Images