Amazon opens grocery store with no checkout counters

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Dec 06, 2016, 10.55 AM(IST)

Amazon's logo is seen at Amazon Japan's office building in Tokyo. Photograph:( Reuters )

Amazon has opened a brick-and-mortar grocery store in Seattle that doesn’t require people to queue up at checkout counters, kicking off new competition with supermarket chains.

Called Amazon Go, the 1,800-square-foot (167-square-meter) store uses sensors to detect what items shoppers have picked off the shelves and sends a bill to their Amazon accounts if they do not replace them.

“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,” says Amazon.

Amazon Go is available now for employees of the company and is expected to be open to the public early next year, Amazon said.

The store marks Amazon's latest push into groceries, one of the biggest retail categories it has yet to master. Apart from groceries such as bread and milk, the store also offers ready-to-eat meals made fresh by on-site chefs and local kitchens and bakeries.

If tests are successful, Amazon plans to open more than 2,000 grocery stores, reported the Wall Street Journal. The company is considering other store formats, including one that would let drivers pick up goods at the curbside, the report said. Amazon, however, declined to comment on the report.

"The checkout lines are always the most inefficient parts of the store experience," said Neil Saunders, managing director of retail research firm Conlumino. "Not only would you save a lot on labour costs, you actually would make the process much quicker for consumers and much more satisfying,” he added.

Amazon Go is not the first physical store for the e-commerce company to open. It has a book store in Seattle, as well as pop-ups at malls where it displays Amazon devices such as the Kindle.

(WION with inputs from Reuters)