Imagine going to the grocery store, filling your cart and leaving without paying. And now imagine, that it would be completely acceptable.
Of course, you would have to pay eventually – you always have to pay eventually – but the online retail giant, Amazon is well under way of making supermarket middlemen a thing of the past.
Amazon’s Seattle-based grocery store is already testing the concept where shoppers use an app on their phones that tracks what they take on and off the shelves, the New York Post reported. You simply fill and go and the receipt is then e-mailed to you upon your departure.
The 1,800 square-foot Amazon Go store is currently only open to the retail giant’s employees as it works out the kinks, but there are big plans to go mainstream and let the public in next year.
No lines, no cashiers, no baggers… no problem?
“It’ll be a big job-killer,” Britt Beamer president of America’s Research Group told the Post. “It’ll eliminate the cashier, it’ll get rid of the baggers, it’ll eliminate the stock clerks. This could be big.”
Beamer estimates Amazon’s plan to open 2,000 brick and mortar stores across the country will wipe out 75 percent of typical grocery store staff.
Currently, Kroger Co., holds the title as the grocery store king and operates 2,800 stores, according to the Post.
Amazon aims to “save a lot on labor costs” Neil Saunders, managing director of the research firm Conlumino said.
Saunders called checkout lines “the most inefficient parts of the store experience” and eliminating them would “make the process much quicker for consumers and much more satisfying.”
Amazon calls it “just walk out technology” but didn’t offer the Post ideas on how it plans to battle shoplifting.
Amazon’s latest venture follows similar projects that replace humans with automation and robots. From warehouse robots to delivery drones, no doubt Amazon will be pushing driverless trucks to deliver goods to its checker-less stores.
Lawmakers are wary of the toll these new grocery stores can have on the labor force.
“We have to make sure this technology not only enables better productivity, but doesn’t disqualify millions of Americans from good, solid jobs,” Sen. Jack Reed D-RI, warned.
And Barack Obama addressed the issue in 2015. “There are some structural issues with our economy where a lot of businesses have learned to become much more efficient with a lot fewer workers,” he told NBC News.
“You see it when you go to a bank and you use an ATM, you don’t go to a bank teller, or you go to the airport and you’re using a kiosk instead of checking in at the gate,” Obama said.
And now you’ll likely see it and your local market.
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