Imagine a store with no cashiers, no lines, and no registers. This is what Amazon is testing in its Amazon Go store on the ground floor of its Seattle headquarters.
The online retailer opened its Amazon Go concept store to the public January 22, selling milk, potato chips and other items typically found at a convenience shop. Amazon employees have been testing the store for about a year.
The public opening is another sign that Amazon is serious about expanding its physical presence. It has opened more than a dozen bookstores, taken over space in some Kohl’s department stores and bought Whole Foods last year, giving it 470 grocery stores.
But Amazon Go is unlike its other stores. It doesn’t accept cash. Shoppers enter by scanning the Amazon Go smartphone app at a turnstile. When they pull an item of the shelf, it’s added to their virtual cart. If the item is placed back on the shelf, it is removed from the virtual cart. Shoppers are charged when they leave the store.
The company says it uses computer vision, machine learning algorithms and sensors to figure out what people are grabbing off its store shelves.
Amazon says families can shop together with just one phone scanning everyone in. Anything they grab from the shelf will also be added to the tab of the person who signed them in. But don’t help out strangers: Amazon warns that grabbing an item from the shelf for someone else means you’ll be charged for it.
At about 1,800 square feet, the store will also sell ready-to-eat breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Items from the Whole Foods 365 brand are also stocked, such as cookies, popcorn and dried fruit.
The new technology may well pioneer a move toward a cashless society in which controls can easily be placed on shoppers who might not be compliant with the law. It might even help law enforcement catch criminals once the system is in place nationwide. It is also one more step in preparing for the final conflict over worship laws under which those who follow all of God’s commandments will be restricted from buying and selling. A cashless environment makes it easy to do this.
“And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” Revelation 13:17.