Now you can walk into a grocery store, grab what you want, and walk out — without ever dealing with a checkout line.
Amazon officially is opening its first Amazon Go grocery store, which eliminates all checkout lines, after testing the concept for a year. The location is in downtown Seattle, and it's open on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
According to the The New York Times, walking into the store feels like going into a subway station, since you go through turnstiles and scan your Amazon app to get in. And then when you leave the store, you just walk back through the turnstiles, and your Amazon account simply charges you for what you bought. A Times reporter tried to shoplift by wrapping a shopping bag around a pack of soda, but Amazon's software still caught it and charged them for it.
The technology, called Just Walk Out, works using hundreds of cameras in the store and a brand-new app you have to download to use the store. Amazon is keeping exactly how it works a company secret, but it combines the cameras with sensors on the shelves to add items to your bill as you choose them at the shop. The only time an employee stops you before you buy something is in the alcohol section, where a worker checks your ID before you take the beer off the shelf.
Once you're in the store, there are also no shopping baskets or carts, so you have to just put whatever you want in the bag you're going to walk out with. That combined with the 1,800-square-foot location, about the size of a convenience store, means this place is more of a quick stop and not a place you'd get food for the whole house. That is reflected in the selection at the store too, as there is nothing that would vary in weight, like individual pieces of fruit, and there's a selection of grab-and-go-meals made on site by a kitchen staff.
It's unclear if Amazon plans on expanding this to other locations.