Amazon will open its first checkout-free supermarket in Ealing this week, where customers can walk out without directly paying.
According to gadget website Pocket Lint, and council documents for planning permission, the store will be the first of up to 30 Amazon Go supermarkets across the country.
In the planning documents, Amazon applied for trademark applications like ‘No Lines, No Checkout. (No, Seriously)’.
While plans for the checkout-free stores have been in the works for a number of years, the lack of potential lines could be a welcome relief to customers wanting to minimise their time indoors amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The shops use a combination of artificial intelligence and extensive cameras and sensors to track where customers are and what has been picked up from shelves.
Once a customer has signed in at the shop’s entrance, they can pick items, put them in their bag and leave, when the items will be charged to a customer’s Amazon-linked card.
While there are no employees manning the tills, there will be assistants on the shop floor to assist customers and replenish stock.
In January 2018, shoppers entered Amazon’s first physical store: Amazon Go, in Seattle, USA.
The online retail giant now has around 25 Amazon Go stores in Seattle, Chicago, New York City and San Francisco.
The Amazon Go website states: ‘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
‘When you arrive, use the app to enter the store, then feel free to put your phone away – you don’t need it to shop.
‘Then just browse and shop like you would at any other store. Once you’re done shopping, you’re on your way. No lines, no checkout.’
Sainsbury’s launched their own checkout free store in April 2019, in Holborn – but with less of the technology behind Amazon’s new shops.
While it didn’t use AI and cameras like Amazon Go, the mere act of going cashless as a society will have huge implications.