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Amazon's 1st high-tech grocery store opens to the public

Amazon's 1st high-tech grocery store opens to the public
From CBC - January 22, 2018

Amazon.com Inc willopen its checkout-free grocery store to the public on Monday after more than a year of testing, the company said, moving forward on an experiment that could dramatically alter brick-and-mortar retail.

The Seattle store, known as Amazon Go, relies on cameras and sensors to track what shoppers remove from the shelves, and what they put back. Cash registers and checkout lines become superfluous customers are billed after leaving the store using credit cards on file.

#AmazonGo opens on Monday, January 22 in Seattle. Get the app to enter the store. See you soon! https://t.co/jt7quQ4rke pic.twitter.com/shIyrifZyk

@amazon

For grocers, the store's opening heralds another potential disruption at the hands of the world's largest online retailer, which bought high-end supermarket chain Whole Foods Market last year for $13.7 billion US. Long lines can deter shoppers, so a company that figures out how to eradicate wait times will have an advantage.

Amazon did not discuss if or when it will add more Go locations, and reiterated it has no plans to add the technology to the larger and more complex Whole Foods stores.

The convenience-style store opened to Amazon employees onDec. 5, 2016 in a test phase. At the time, Amazon said it expected members of the public could begin using the store in early 2017.

But there have been challenges, according to a person familiar with the matter. These included correctly identifying shoppers with similar body types, the person said. When children were brought into the store during the trial, they caused havoc by moving items to incorrect places, the person added.

Gianna Puerini, vice president of Amazon Go, said in an interview that the store worked very well throughout the test phase, thanks to four years of prior legwork.

"This technology did not exist," Puerini said, walking through the Seattle store. "It was really advancing the state of the art of computer vision and machine learning."

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