Amazon Opens Revolutionary New C-Store Concept

By 
Abbey Lewis, Editor in Chief, CSProducts

Greg Lindenberg, Editor, CSP

Amazon Go store

SEATTLE -- Amazon has never taken a me-too approach to business. Since its launch 22 years ago, the company hasn’t done anything it couldn’t do better than the next guy. And in 2012, its CEO and cultural leader Jeff Bezos said as much in an interview with Charlie Rose.

“The question we would always ask before we would embark on such a thing is: What's the idea? What would we do that would be different? How would it be better?”

As far as c-stores are concerned, the company may have found that idea: Amazon Go, an 1,800-square-foot convenience-store-like retail outlet with no waiting in lines and no checkout required.

Click through to read more about how Amazon is working to revolutionize the c-store industry with Amazon Go ...

Amazon Go shopper

The company’s “just walk out” technology—computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning— leverages technology used in self-driving cars to automatically detect when a customer takes or returns products to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart. When the customer is done shopping, he or she can leave the store. Shortly after, Amazon will charge the customer’s Amazon account and send a receipt.

Amazon Fresh truck

This latest news out of Amazon comes on the heels of rumors around 2,000 potential click-and-collect, brick-and-mortar grocery locations. In what is turning out to be a legitimate push into the physical-store sector, Amazon’s take on the convenience store with Amazon Go involves a very hands-off approach.

Re/code, a Vox Media outfit, reported on a patent filed by Amazon on this new retail technology back in March 2015.

Amazon Go food

As reported in a McLane/CSP Daily News Flash, Amazon Go offers ready-to-eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack options made fresh every day by on-site chefs and favorite local kitchens and bakeries.

Amazon Go app

Customers need an Amazon account, a supported smartphone and the free Amazon Go app. They can enter the store via a turnstile activated by the app: “Amazon Go is a new kind of store with no checkout required. We created the world’s most advanced shopping technology so you never have to wait in line. With our Just Walk Out Shopping experience, simply use the Amazon Go app to enter the store, take the products you want, and go! No lines, no checkout,” the company said on its Amazon Go web page.

Amazon Go food

Foodservice will be front and center. The store also offers grocery essentials ranging from staples such as bread and milk to artisan cheeses and locally made chocolates. It will also offer Amazon Meal Kits.

Amazon Go beverages

“Four years ago, we asked ourselves: What if we could create a shopping experience with no lines and no checkout?” the company said on its web page. “Could we push the boundaries of computer vision and machine learning to create a store where customers could simply take what they want and go? Our answer to those questions is Amazon Go and Just Walk Out shopping.”

Amazon Go bag

The first store, located in the e-commerce giant’s home base of Seattle, is currently open to Amazon employees in a beta program. It will open to the public in early 2017. Amazon declined comment further to CSP on the expansion of this new c-store-like endeavor.

Wal-Mart

Amazon isn’t the only retail giant stepping on convenience’s turf. Wal-Mart also announced last week the opening of a new retail concept, Wal-Mart Pickup With Fuel. The 4,000-square-foot location is a convenience store, gas station and pickup site for online grocery orders.

 Amazon Go app

Amazon announced the new retail concept on its YouTube channel and the Amazon Go web page Dec. 5.