Surf around the tech and business web today and you’ll think Amazon is currently doing one of two things: (1) Testing a new retail concept called Amazon Go that sells meals in an 1,800 square foot market, or (2) Testing a radical new “just walk out” payments technology designed to do away with standing in lines and checking out — a technology that could differentiate the company’s Amazon Payments service it markets to small businesses. While most of the coverage of the beta test is focused on the store concept, we’re guessing it’s all about Amazon Payments.
Read the Amazon Go announcement page or watch the video below and you’ll learn very little about what the store sells. It’s all about how the shopper interacts with the payment technology Amazon has been working on “for the past four years.”
Amazon’s explanation of why it created a market called Amazon Go
“Four years ago we asked ourselves: what if we could create a shopping experience with no lines and no checkout? Could we push the boundaries of computer vision and machine learning to create a store where customers could simply take what they want and go? Our answer to those questions is Amazon Go and Just Walk Out Shopping.”
Observation: Huh? Does this sound like a reason for testing a food market concept?
Amazon’s explanation of what someone can buy at Amazon Go?
“We offer delicious ready-to-eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack options made fresh every day by our on-site chefs and favorite local kitchens and bakeries. Our selection of grocery essentials ranges from staples like bread and milk to artisan cheeses and locally made chocolates. You’ll find well-known brands we love, plus special finds we’re excited to introduce to customers. For a quick home-cooked dinner, pick up one of our chef-designed Amazon Meal Kits, with all the ingredients you need to make a meal for two in about 30 minutes.”
Observation: That is the only thing appearing on the page about what a shopper can buy at the store. And only once is the word “artisan” mentioned in the entire paragraph.”
But listen to this love letter written to the “shopping experience”:
“Our checkout-free shopping experience is made possible by the same types of technologies used in self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning. Our Just Walk Out technology automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart. When you’re done shopping, you can just leave the store. Shortly after, we’ll charge your Amazon account and send you a receipt.”
Coming soon to an Amazon Payments product near you
Prediction | If you are a small business that has a traditional point-of-sale system, we predict you’re more likely to see Amazon Go as a POS product Amazon wants to sell you rather than as an 1,800-square-foot market down the street.
Amazon Go announcement video
Notice how little time is spent describing the food.