Technology is advancing and it’s becoming a world where we depend on our phones or computers to do things for us. Amazon have launched the brilliant initiative of a checkout-free reality, where all payments process through your smartphone after your basket has been automatically updated and you have left the store.
They call this ‘Just Walk Out’ shopping, and people are going crazy for it. No more waiting in queues with the worlds most advanced shopping technology. It’s made possible by the same kinds of tech used in self-driving cars; computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning. The app automatically detects when products are taken off or put back on the shelves and updates your cart for you in a virtual basket. When shopping is over, just leave the store. Your Amazon account will be charged shortly afterwards.
The store will offer tasty, fresh ready-to-eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack options made each day by on-site chefs and favourite local bakeries and kitchens. Their selection of grocery essentials from things like bread and milk to artisan cheeses and locally produced chocolates. They’re also introducing special finds for customers, giving them delicious exclusive options.
Their store is currently only open to Amazon employees as part of their Beta program and is opening their Seattle store to the public early 2017.
It’s an amazing revolution in technology for the shopping industry which has been the same for centuries.
However, as soon as I read about this everything that could possibly go wrong started to float round in my head. What if your phone is stolen? Someone could literally just start shopping with your Amazon account. Also, what is there’s a problem with the sensor and you didn’t purchase a particular item that the basket didn’t update? There would be no hard evidence other than your Amazon basket, which may be false… A receipt is a sure fire way of checking. Similarly, what if a product is stolen? Yes, they’ll have employees working in the store but what great protection plans do they have in place to prevent stock going missing?
In addition, despite the massive profit it will bring for Amazon, this cutting-edge technology could eliminate thousands of jobs. They are looking to gradually roll out 2,000 stores – threatening countless jobs. People may argue innovation and advancement in tech is the only way forward, and that no matter the decrease in jobs such as within the grocery industry, more jobs will always be renovated and better jobs will arise. However, a computer can do just about anything. They have even revolutionised the building industry with a machine that can brick-lay; putting manual workers at risk.
All in all, this is the future of retail, no matter the lack of jobs it may produce. But have Amazon approached it in the best way possible?