Who's Trolling Amazon Go?

By 
Jackson Lewis, Assistant Editor

Amazon Go

ENCINITAS, Calif. -- On Friday, Nov. 10, Mayor Catherine Blakespear of Encinitas, Calif., was convinced and excited that the second location of budding brand extension Amazon Go—considered by some the next generation of convenience stores—was set to open in her city in 2018. Less than 12 hours later, she and the city learned it was not.

Blakespear told the local Del Mar Times newspaper that morning that the high-tech convenience store would be “ideal for downtown Encinitas,” saying she was “thrilled” when she saw the video explaining how the technology behind the smart c-store works.

The announcement included a website adorned with Amazon branding proclaiming that the second location would open at the site of a former Whole Foods Market in downtown Encinitas. But by the end of the day, Amazon made it clear that the mayor and the rest of the city had been duped.

“This website is not affiliated with Amazon and the information it presents is inaccurate,” an Amazon spokesperson told CSP Daily News. The Del Mar Times received the same response from Amazon and quickly updated its story, while the website has shut down.

Click through for a look at the apparent retail scam and an update on Amazon Go …

From the beginning

Amazon Go App

For those unfamiliar with the concept, Amazon Go is a next-generation c-store that allows Amazon Prime members to check into the store and purchase items without going through a checkout. Cameras and sensors track customer movement and items in the shop. Once a customer walks out of the door with his or her items, their Amazon Prime account is automatically billed via a censor on the customer's smartphone. Amazon calls the system “just walk out” technology.

Waiting on the word

Whole Foods Market

When Amazon announced the Amazon Go concept in December 2016, it was slated to open to the public early 2017. Nearly a year later, the smart c-store is still undergoing employee testing.

However, Amazon has not been idle. Since the public learned about Amazon Go, the company has announced, tested and launched its grocery pickup service AmazonFresh Pickup to the public in three Seattle locations. Then Amazon sent shock waves through multiple industries when it acquired Whole Foods Market. It has also traded blows with Wal-Mart in a veritable battle of innovation throughout 2017.

Finally, there’s the company’s search for its second headquarters location to consider, which cities across the country are clamoring to claim. Given the anticipation around Amazon’s many brick-and-mortar expansions, eager cities could be ripe for the sort of deception Encinitas experienced.

'Scamazon'

Guess Corp

CSP has been unable to identify the source of this fake announcement. The episode was probably the result of an internet troll trying to cause a little chaos. Though much smaller in scale, the false promise of a futuristic c-store experience hearkens back to the efforts a year ago of ex-convict Jerry DeMario Guess and his seemingly nonexistent Guess Corp. business that promised to grow into a 1,000-store convenience-retailing chain, including "ultra-luxury" convenience clubs available only to members with a proven net worth of at least $50 million.

Still, this fake news serves as a reminder that Amazon has not released any update on when the original Amazon Go in Seattle will finish employee testing and open to the public. Perhaps whoever is responsible for the deception of Encinitas is simply as eager as the rest of the country to find out what’s next for Amazon Go.