The online retail giant can tell what people have purchased and automatically charges their Amazon account.
The online retail giant can tell what people have purchased and automatically charges their Amazon account. AP Photo - Elaine Thompson

Amazon's supermarket with no checkouts

PAINFULLY slow checkout queues could soon be a thing of the past - and it's all thanks to Amazon.

The online retailer opened its groundbreaking Amazon Go concept store to the public in Seattle in the US yesterday after a year-long test phase.

According to Amazon, the store creates a shopping "experience" with no lines or check-outs, allowing customers to "simply take what they want and go".

The store allows shoppers to scan their smartphone with the Amazon Go app at a turnstile, pick out the items they want and leave. The online retail giant can tell what people have purchased and automatically charges their Amazon account.
The store allows shoppers to scan their smartphone with the Amazon Go app at a turnstile, pick out the items they want and leave. The online retail giant can tell what people have purchased and automatically charges their Amazon account. AP Photo - Elaine Thompson

Shoppers enter the futuristic store by scanning the Amazon Go app on their mobile at a turnstile, and every item taken from the shelf is added to the individual customer's virtual cart thanks to "the world's most advanced shopping technology".

Anything put back on the shelf is deleted from the cart.

Amazon uses cameras, algorithms and weight sensors to determine what shoppers have added to their trolley, and customers pay electronically through an account linked to their account when they leave the store using "Just Walk Out" technology.

AP Photo - Elaine Thompson
AP Photo - Elaine Thompson AP Photo - Elaine Thompson

While there are no employees needed to man cash registers, there are some staff members in the store who are responsible for food preparation, stocking shelf and helping customers.

Amazon Go sells ready-to-eat breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks, meal kits, grocery staples like bread and milk and items from the Whole Foods 365 brand, such as cookies, popcorn and dried fruit.

The company bought Whole Foods last year, adding 470 grocery stores to its arsenal.

Klappenbach and his family, of Buenos Aires, Argentina, were visiting the area and made a point to stop in the artificial intelligence-powered store on its opening day.
Klappenbach and his family, of Buenos Aires, Argentina, were visiting the area and made a point to stop in the artificial intelligence-powered store on its opening day. AP Photo - Elaine Thompson

Amazon Go was originally due to open to the public in early 2017, but the launch was pushed back after the company encountered problems with technology, including difficulties identifying shoppers with similar body types.

The system also couldn't cope when children moved items to different places in the store during the trial.

In an interview with The Sun, Amazon Go vice president Gianna Puerini said despite the minor issues, the technology had performed well during testing.

"This technology didn't exist. It was really advancing the state of the art of computer vision and machine learning," she said.

The company's technology has since learned to tell apart near-identical products.

If the world-first store is a hit with shoppers, it could be rolled out across more locations in future.

alexis.carey@news.com.au


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