What is Amazon Go?
Amazon Go is a new kind of a retail outlet, where you enter the store, buy what you need to and just walk out. Yes, it’s that simple.
Amazon has named it ‘Just walk out shopping’ experience. The store is currently limited to groceries and ready-to-eat foods. Amazon Go is in a beta stage presently and opened only for Amazon employees. The company plans to open the store for public in early 2017.
When you enter the store, you need to scan the code on your Amazon Go app and the store will automatically log you in. The complete store is equipped with cameras, microphones, and sensors that can track the location of a shopper and know when a product is picked up or placed back. Through advanced computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning, the store keeps track of every product chosen by a buyer and adds them to their virtual cart. When you are done shopping, simply leave the store. Amazon will charge your account and send you the receipt shortly.
The future of retail?
Amazon Go is a trendsetting model in itself. Amazon only controls 1% of the $800 billion grocery industry in the US and they plan to tap this market with Amazon Go stores. The introduction of Amazon Go has addressed the most annoying component of shopping at departmental stores — the checkout lines — all while creating an entirely new shopping experience.
In an attempt to grab a foothold in the grocery industry, Amazon has redefined the experience of shopping at physical stores. Many experts have speculated that this is what the future of retail is going to be like. Rather than a stubborn clash between the digital and the physical channels, the future of retail is in fact, a beautiful blend of both, resulting in a seamless shopping experience for buyers. Omnichannel anyone?
The usage of disruptive technologies is what gives companies a competitive advantage. In a world where talks of autonomous vehicles and ‘Just walk out shopping stores’ are mundane, retailers need to keep a true focus on leveraging innovation, especially in the light of the increasing popularity of online shopping. To this end, retailers need to focus and strengthen one single thing that not only differentiates brands but also contrasts online and physical shopping – the shopping experience. Augmented Reality is the piece of technology that will seriously boost and differentiate the shopping experience for its customers.
Augmented reality is largely becoming popular in the retail industry. The previous misconception that AR is beneficial for only B2C entities are innovating new ways to leverage AR in their marketing. Yet, augmented reality is providing true value for both online retailers and brick-and-mortar stores. Take the IKEA AR catalog, which allows customers to ‘try and see’ a product in their own personal space, with a simple app and a catalog. Or more specifically in the groceries sector, consider the IBM AR app, that displays valuable information such as calories, sugar content, fat and carbohydrates about the products the camera is pointed at in a store.
It’s convenience and value propositions that make AR a definite game changer in the retail industry. Customers are being more conscious regarding the products and more spoilt with options in the marketplace. As such, your brand needs something very distinct to stand out from the crowd and make a mark. Using AR in your retail shop can certainly increase the convenience of the shoppers. At the same time, you can merge together shopping experiences across digital and physical channels by syncing together the user’s accounts through a dedicated app and provide your shoppers a truly omnichannel shopping experience.
The idea is not exactly to replicate Amazon Go’s process but to anticipate the merger of physical and digital experiences in retail.