Amazon has finally opened its much-anticipated Amazon Go checkout-free store in Seattle to the public.
The 1,800 sq ft grocery store, which employs what the online giant says is “the world’s most advanced shopping technology”, offers ready-to-eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks made by its chefs and local kitchens and bakeries.
Groceries at the shop, which opens from 7am-9pm only on weekdays, range from everyday staples to artisan cheeses and locally made chocolates.
The chef-designed Amazon Meal Kits contain all the ingredients to make a meal for two in about 30 minutes.
Shoppers are required to have an Amazon account, the free Amazon Go app, and a recent-generation iPhone or Android device.
Cameras and sensors track what shoppers take off the shelves and what they put back. They are billed when they leave via a credit card kept on file.
The process is triggered when shoppers scan the app and pass through a gated turnstile before they start shopping.
The outlet is staffed in the kitchen and the store to prep ingredients, make its ready-to-eat food, stock shelves and help customers.
Amazon said it created the store to test if it could create a shopping experience with no queues and no checkout.
It wanted to “push the boundaries of computer vision and machine learning” to create a store where customers could take what they wanted and “go”.
Asked if the format would be extended, an Amazon spokesman said it did not comment on future plans.
Questions will be asked, however, whether this will herald further openings in what could be a revolutionary disrupter in the convenience market.
Independent retail analyst Nick Bubb, who saw the site last spring when it was under test, said it had taken Amazon a long time to get the concept right.
“I hate to think how well that would work in London where wi-fi can be pretty erratic. People have been talking about checkout-free on the industry conference circuit for a year but clearly the technology is tricky to get right.
“I guess London would be an obvious place to trial it if Amazon is confident enough in the technology to take it overseas.”