‘What would shopping look like if you could walk into a store, grab what you want and just go?’ This is what amazon thought of 4 years ago. Now the online shopping giant is about to open the doors to its first supermarket ‘amazon go’ in Seattle. Amazon entered the food business already with its service ‘amazon fresh’, where you order the food online and amazon will ship it to your home. The new supermarket idea is the result of finding that a lot of groceries are not suited for online postal shopping. The system in the new ‘amazon go’ supermarkets is simple: Customers are able to walk into the supermarket, shop what they like and then just check out without standing in line. The only thing they have to do is to have an amazon account and download the amazon go app and scan their phone when they enter and leave the store. The things they´ve shopped will automatically appear in their online shopping cart and will be subtracted from their amazon account.
The supermarket, which will open in Seattle, is one of the most modern supermarkets in the world. The fascinating but at the same time shocking thing about this new modern supermarket is everything you take out of the shelves in the supermarket will automatically be registered in your online shopping basket. Every water bottle, every sandwich or juice will appear online on your amazon account. But how does it work? Amazon keeps a low profile on the details of how this new technology works. They only mention key words like Learning algorithm and Sensor Fusion. That basically means that cameras and a combination of different sensors are feeding an algorithm, which should recognize which products the customers take from the shelves or which they put back.
Experts are sure that amazon uses a technology which recognises objects from different angles, similar to face-recognition-technology and models, which are similar to RFID, to identify the position of the customer and the product. Additional sensors can be used to define the weight of the products in the shelves and even more, the weight or height of the customer. Data on the customer plays a central role for the artificial intelligence of the learning algorithm and the scanning of the products. For example, if a customer takes a blue bottle out of the shelf, the cameras recognise a blue bottle and record that the customer keeps the product. But the cameras can’t capture the product exactly because another customer is in the way they use the customer data which says that the customer likes to buy the blue Poweraid and that it is located in this shelf. So the system adds the blue Poweraid to the shopping basket.
The patent from ReCode explains the technology in detail.
1. The items taken from the shelf can be identified based on the data amazon gets from a variety of input devices like cameras and pictures.
2. Other devices such as sensors, which measure the pressure and volume of an object
3. Customer data will be analysed if the object can’t be clearly identified by the sensors
To sum up, the amazon go technology can not only be used in supermarkets, it will simplify many branches such as fashion, electronics, cosmetics and books. The customer is reachable through the app and can be analysed through his data and amazon can collect this data in a database to make it even more simple for the customer. Amazon plans to open up more than 2000 stores in the US in the upcoming years and revolutionise the shopping experience.