Amazon has delivered many things to the world [literally] but it may now have delivered the end to shoplifting and the end to shopping as we know it.
Underneath the Amazon HQ in Seattle the company has opened its staff shop to the general public for the first time. The shop doesn't have any cashiers or any check out tills. Customers simply wander in, choose what they want and then walk out of the store; their payment is automatically deducted from their credit card via the Amazon Go app on their smartphones and a digital invoice is provided later.
An array of cameras and digital sensors in the roof of the shop tracks the customer as they go from aisle to aisle and records when he/she picks something up. It is then added to their virtual shopping trolley. If they put it back it is removed from the trolley. Then they walk out of the store and payment is taken care of virtually and with a high degree of accuracy.
It isn't clear what happens if you try to enter [or more importantly leave] the store without an Amazon Go app on your phone or if your credit card hasn't got enough funds to pay for the goods. However, as glimpses into the future go it is quite a compelling vision. Clearly it could virtually eliminate shoplifting and reduce retail overheads dramatically given that checkout staff are the second most common roles in retail.
Amazon is already scouting other locations in America to roll out more of its Amazon Go shops which are essentially like Tesco Metro stores in the UK.