Amazon has a top-secret project to revolutionize convenience stores. In the fall of 2015, the project’s leaders invited Bezos to come over and appraise their work. They rented a warehouse in South Seattle and converted part of the first floor into a 15,000-square-foot mock supermarket, erecting plywood walls, laying out shelves and gates, and mocking shoppers who could scan their stores as they walked in. Smartphone technology. Amazon's CEO and a few assistants pretended to be shopping, pushing the cart down an aisle lined with canned goods and plastic fruits and vegetables.
There are also dedicated counters, where Amazon employees play the roles of baristas, butchers, and cheese sellers, taking telemarketing list orders and adding items to Bezos’ fictional bill. Afterwards, Bezos brought program directors together and told them that while they all did great work, the experience was disjointed, according to a person who was there at the time. Customers have to wait for their meat, seafood and fruit to be weighed before adding it to their bill, which would have been fine, but the convenience store's main selling point should have been the elimination of time-wasting cashiers. Bezos asked the group to remove meat and cheese and focus on eliminating lines and cashiers.
Another employee recalled regretfully: “This is one of the things about Amazon that we love — let’s change everything!” Almost four years later, a total of 14 Amazon Go stores have opened in Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Seattle. About a quarter the size of the original replica, the stores are located in downtown office districts and offer a small selection of sandwiches, meal kits, and convenience store merchandise such as soda, jam, and potato chips. . As Bezos had hoped, the store didn't have a cash register. Once customers scan the screen with a special app on their phone, they can walk out with their selection, and Amazon will magically charge their credit card. All things considered, the company intends to open more of these stores in the months and years to come. From a technical standpoint, the Go store is a marvel—a neat example of Amazon ability to devote enormous resources to applying the latest AI technology to solve an everyday problem.