In short: Amazon’s mission of making cashiers redundant is continuing with one of the world’s busiest shopping locations – New York City. The company will be opening one of its cashier-free Amazon Go stores in the Big Apple, as first suggested by four job postings that The Information spotted last week, with the Seattle-based retail giant confirming the move shortly thereafter. The NYC Amazon Go store is expected to start operating in the coming months.
Background: To date, Amazon opened three cashierless convenience stores in its hometown, all of which started serving the general public this year, and is planning to establish another two in Chicago and San Francisco. Prior to the public debut of its high-tech solution, Amazon tested the Go concept at its Seattle campus for a year, allowing its employees to shop with extra convenience and help test its automated systems. Amazon Go stores rely on a broad range of cameras and sensors that track shoppers and items they pick up. Store visitors are charged for any products they bring out and while the solution relies on a dedicated app available for Android and iOS devices, logging into the thereof is done via standard Amazon accounts. The solution has been robustly tested for theft vulnerability and is generally believed to be more secure than traditional stores, especially given how shoppers aren’t able to enter Amazon Go stores without verifying their identity, which includes providing the firm with payment information. Amazon is still warning shoppers to never pick up items for others as the system charges users who take products, not those who bring them out of its automated stores, which also allows shoppers to come with an entourage meant to help them carry things.
The impact: With cashier being one of today’s most common jobs in the United States, Amazon’s technology could potentially eliminate millions of positions in the country. The firm’s initiative is presently being followed by Walmart and a number of other companies — including Microsoft — working on similar solutions. Its Whole Foods division isn’t expected to be automated in the near future, with Amazon executives saying as much on numerous occasions.