You may have heard by now, Amazon is entering the brick and mortar business by opening up a supermarket. However, this is no ordinary supermarket, it's a Internet connected store called Amazon Go. This is a revolutionary model for retail and grocery stores, but will it stick, is this the future?
Amazon Go works very easy; you walk in, grab what you want, and simply go. Yes, it is that easy. No waiting in lines and no cashiers, walk right out the door with your product(s). Of course you're still going to pay, the store and the products in it are connected to your Amazon account via an app, and when you walk out of the store with your product(s), you're account gets charged.
Here's a video from Amazon about it:
It's a pretty neat idea, ain't it? Per The Wall Street Journal, Amazon plans to open about 2,000 of these bad boys. Amazon is gearing up to open their first "test" store in Seattle here soon. The New York Post reported that the store would only need three human workers to operate, and any other labor will be done by technology.
Now according to that same New York Post article, the humans would consist of a manager, shelf stocker, drive thru window person (hint at order online), and a robot assistant. There is a possibility of a greeter or front door person to help stop shop lifting.
Shop lifting that is something to worry about, but I'm sure Amazon would have the best of the best camera's and anti-shop lifting measures in place. A big thing to worry about though with a model like Amazon Go is job killing. Like stated above, Amazon Go barely needs humans to operate, and with the world moving into an IoT way of life, this model may become the standard in the future.
CNBC ran a segment on Amazon Go and the model potentially killing jobs, here it is:
To be honest, it's likely this model will become more and more prevalent in the future, but not anytime soon. Amazon Go will likely be a one of a kind thing for a couple years, and one or two companies will jump on the train and it may just go from there.
However, Jeff Bezos (Amazon's CEO), tweeted on Tuesday that the New York Post's sources aren't accurate, per WTAE. Who knows really, maybe the source leaked a little too much information that Bezos didn't want out there and is trying to cover thing back up. It's clear that Amazon is working on this, and it's clear they are using the IoT and possibly robots to operate the store.
At any rate, this business model is genius in terms of efficiency, productivity, and customer satisfaction. This model however does come with risks, hacking and stealing. Stealing can be prevented and/or tracked easily with camera's, a person, and other technology, but cyber attacks are much harder.
Amazon Go will have to be locked down, maybe in a walled-garden, in terms of cyber security. It's no question that hackers are going to try and target the store and the consumers within it. Hackers can go from holding a store ransom with ransomware, to intercepting consumer's payment information from their transactions. This model is genius, but is going to be operating in a scary playing field which is cyber space.
Amazon Go is going to be very interesting and should excite all stakeholders involved with Amazon, keep a close eye on how it's test store in Seattle does, and if it goes well, expect a widespread roll out of these stores. Amazon Go may be the shopping model for the future, and shows again how the IoT is the future.