Writing about tech, threats and innovation, it is pretty common that some ideas (or threats) out there really don’t materialize.
Like one more season of Saved by the Bell, it just doesn’t need to happen.
(It would be called Saved by the Bell – Middle Age Years, I reckon.)
Dumb jokes aside, I wrote about the Amazon Go concept two years ago — the idea of a store with no traditional check-out process. Guess what? It’s here.
Today on LinkedIn, I read a post from Sachs Media executive Ryan Cohn declaring the first Amazon Go store is open to the public; they were able to make the walk-in-walk-out concept a reality.
Is it perfect? Not yet.
I saw a great comment from a shopper who said, “I think I just shoplifted.” He had two items when he left the store, but when they sent his digital receipt, it only showed one. Ooops.
Amazon had the following to say about that scenario via The Washington Post:
“’It happens so rarely that we didn’t even bother building in a feature for customers to tell us it happened,’ Gianna Puerini, Amazon Go’s vice president, told CNBC. ‘I’ve been doing this a year and I have yet to get an error. So, we’ve tried to make it super easy on the rare occasion that does happen either to remove it or enjoy breakfast on us.’”
Got it, #freestuff if they make a mistake.
That sounds like a reasonable approach if you have one store in its first year, but maybe not sustainable for a world takeover.
Moving from shoplifting to disruption: How is the rest of the industry responding?
Kroger launched a quick response with an expansion of their “Scan Bag and Go” tech in 400 stores. Each shopper gets a handheld scanner to scan your own items as you go which is new. Most stores only go as so far as a self-checking kiosk.
So as the Grocery Grand Prix heads around the first 100 laps, Amazon has the lead and it doesn’t look to be giving it up anytime soon.
Plus, they just bought a grocery store chain, so I have a feeling Whole Foods is about to have a whole lotta different experience for their shoppers in the next two years.
Also, let’s keep an eye on a potential dark horse for the No. 2 in the race.
Here’s a pic of Robomart, the store that drives to you – and it’s driverless.
So, there you have it. Mind blown yet?
Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies. He can be reached at [email protected].