Amazon has opened its first ever supermarket - and you don’t have to go through the checkout

Wednesday, 26th February 2020, 3:06 pm
Updated Wednesday, 26th February 2020, 3:09 pm

Amazon has opened its first grocery store, where shoppers can leave without queuing at checkouts.

The store, called Amazon Go Grocery, was officially opened in Seattle in the USA yesterday.

The trillion dollar company promises that its new stores will revolutionise the shopping experience for customers, relying on technology to eliminate queues at checkouts - and the need to pay in-store at all.

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Amazon describes the new system as ‘Just Walk Out’ shopping, telling customers to “come in, take what you want, and just walk out.”

It says the new store “offers everything you’d want from a neighborhood grocery store - from fresh produce and meat and seafood to bakery items and household essentials - plus easy-to-make dinner options.

“We offer a mix of organic and conventional items from well-known brands, along with special finds and local favorites.”

How to shop at Amazon Go Grocery

According to Amazon, the stripped-back shopping experience goes as follows:

Open the Amazon Go app, and hold the key on your phone to the entrance gate’s scannerTake anything you like from the shelvesPut the items in your reusable bags as you go around - it’s easier if you use a cartNo need to queue at a checkout - just walk out with your shopping

While it might seem simple on the face of it, customers do still need an Amazon account, the Amazon Go app, and a fairly recent generation iPhone or Android smartphone just to get past the entrance gates.

How Amazon Go technology works

The store’s ‘Just Walk Out’ tech is based on “computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning”, according to Amazon.

It automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart. When a customer leaves the store with their shopping, Amazon sends them a receipt and charges their online account.

The new grocery store in Seattle follows on the heels of the company’s previous in-store venture, Amazon Go, where customers can buy ready-to-eat breakfasts, lunches, and snacks - and uses the same app-based technology to avoid the need for checkouts.

Criticism of Amazon warehouses

A Freedom of Information request, released by the GMB union earlier this month, showed that there had been 622 serious injuries or near misses reported by Amazon UK to the Health and Safety Executive in the last three years.

In 2019 alone, there were 240 incidents in the shipping giant’s UK warehouses reported to the government body.

The only injuries recorded in the figures are ones that forced workers to take a break from working for at least seven days, or ones that involved fractures, crushes, amputations, scalping, or burning.

Mick Rix, GMB national officer, called conditions at the company “hellish” and said, “We've tried over and over again to get Amazon to talk to us to try and improve safety for workers. But enough is enough - it's now time for a full parliamentary inquiry."

A spokesperson for Amazon rejected criticism of its warehouse conditions and said GMB was one of a number of critics “determined to paint a false picture of what it’s like to work for Amazon.”