Recently Amazon registered a trademark for their new concept store dubbed as “#Amazon GO”. It is a new kind of store, with its main hook being that there will be no checkout tills. This means that shopping will be faster and more convenient cutting out the problem of long waiting lines. The process can be summed with their tagline: “No lines, no checkout – just grab and go.”.

Just walk in and out

Amazon is calling this experience “Just Walk Out Shopping”, using a culmination of technologies used in self-driving cars, sensor fusion and deep learning, the technology implemented within the store and in your phone (you are required to download a companion app with the experience) automatically detects taken products, or returned ones, from the shelves – all tracked with the customer’s personal virtual cart which can be viewed with the #Amazon GO app.

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After the customer has left the store all charges will be on that customer’s Amazon account and a receipt will be sent.

Rise of the Robots

Garnering traction from publications such as #business Insider and CNBC, the concept has industry insiders analysing the pros and cons of Amazon GO – with some even making statements that have caused hysteria that the idea alone will “replace jobs” says the author of the book “Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless future” Martin Ford.

UK and US Retail Employment

Mr Ford told CNBC that “It’s a part of capitalism, that there’s going to be this continuous drive for more efficiency.”. The issue with this is that, according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics Data (in the US), salespersons in retail and cashiers makes up the majority of the occupations that employs the most in the United States.

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In the UK at least 2.8 million people are employed in retail (counting all jobs within it – even senior positions) and this number was expected to grow by 2017, going up to 3.3 million retail employees, but with Amazon GO we will probably expect to see this prediction not match up depending on the success of concept.

Cause and effect

If the concept of the cashier-less convenience store catches on, a domino effect will surely happen – with competitors being forced to match up with this new level of convenience introduced by Amazon to keep their consumer base. This only increases the unease regarding the prospect of machines replacing human workers in the retail industry, this concept may only quicken that process, even at the beginning of the year (before the concept was even announced) The Bank of England’s chief economist Andy Haldane warned that 15million UK jobs could be lost to automation in retail.

Debut

Amazon sets its eyes for this concept to jumpstart first in the US (early 2017) with a store opening at 2131 7th Ave, Seattle, WA.

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Eventually, a branch will be opened in the UK which was made sure after a trademark in the country for the Amazon GO format was registered – although no announcement has been made on whether where or even when the first store will make its debut.