Amazon and other online stores have revolutionized shopping. There are legions of people who won’t step one foot into a brick-and-mortar store this holiday season. They can easily do it all online and have it shipped straight to their door.
But Amazon has other things in store to revolutionize the business. They are experimenting with Amazon Go. Customers armed with its smartphone app will be able to enter a special store, pick items off the shelves, and walk out without having to stand in line to ring it up. It plans to open to public next year.
Of course, this is just experimental at this stage, but it highlights many possibilities for what could happen to the business. We asked our writers, “How will Amazon Go change the experience of shopping in the future?”
Simon thinks the whole thing sounds “incredibly convenient,” and says if it’s successful, he “can see other stores using this technology too.” However, he is interested in what happens with people who don’t have a smartphone. Yet if that ends up not being an issue in the long run, he “can really see more technologies crop up that use smartphones to simplify the brick-and-mortar shopping experience.”
Damien believes Amazon Go “is a great concept and will definitely be the trend in the near future.” But he brings up another point, that this will enable Amazon to lock down even more information about you, “including every single item you bought last year, last month, last week, yesterday, etc.,” and that gives him “the creeps.” He’s also concerned about the number of jobs that will be lost due to this automatic system.
Derrik agrees with both of these negatives to Amazon Go. He sees that “it will make shopping harder for those too poor to afford cellphones” and that it will be “a new way to gain information about consumers based on how they buy things to target advertisements.” He sees it as an “interesting concept” but thinks he will just “stick with my local Kroger.”
Alex is intrigued by the “technology’s long-term impact.” He wonders about anti-theft measures as well – if it’s currently working flawlessly or if it still needs some work. He also notes, “as automation obviates minimum wage jobs, what will happen to the folks who once held those jobs” and wonders how hackers will “take advantage of this system” and if they hope to “prevent them from gaining access.” He’s also considering if they found a way for authentication and payment to “happen instantly and securely without input from the user, they could probably license that tech for a shiny penny or two.”
As someone who stands in two separate grocery stores every two weeks, I’d love to see this happen. It currently takes me two hours for this chore, and that could be shortened quite a bit to not have to stand in line and go through the checkout process. It doesn’t bother me one bit for Amazon to know my shopping habits. They already know my online shopping habits. But I do think Amazon Go will be a hard sell for some people. There are those who refuse to shop online and refuse to pay electronically at the store. I can’t see those people suddenly thinking this is the way to go.
What do you think? Are you excited to see this new technology in play? Or do you have your reservations as some of our writers do? Report in in the comments below and let us know what you think about how Amazon Go will change the experience of shopping in the future.