Another blow to retail: Amazon's automated store launch is a 'Go'

A shopper is seen using his phone in the line-free Amazon Go store in Seattle Washington US

But Amazon is about to move to the next phase of its plan: opening the store up to the public. The store's technology can tell when you've grabbed a product or have returned it.

Inside is an 1,800-square foot mini-market packed with shelves of food that you can find in a lot of other convenience stores - soda, potato chips, ketchup. Instead, a smartphone app, hundreds of regular and infrared cameras on the ceiling (black on black, so they blend in), computer-vision algorithms, and machine learning work together to figure out what you're picking up and charge you for it on a credit card connected to your Amazon account.

Called Amazon Go, the store is filled with not just grocery items, but state-of-the-art technology that's being called the biggest breakthrough in shopping technology since barcodes.

What Will the Shopping Experience at an Amazon Go Store Be Like?

But Amazon has been working on improving another lifestyle touchstone for over a year, and it's finally ready for release: Amazon Go, the checkout-free grocery store. The timings of the newly launched Amazon Go store will be from 7 AM to 9 PM, Monday through Friday.

Customers browse packaged wraps, sandwiches and salads at Amazon's new "grab-and-go" store in Seattle, Washington, U.S., January 18, 2018.

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The technology comes as huge changes are already rocking the grocery business, including Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods, plus rising numbers of customers who want to order online and have their groceries delivered and shifting tastes that have pushed stores to stock more organic and locally-grown items. Translation: Amazon's technology can see and identify every item in the store, without attaching a special chip to every can of soup and bag of trail mix. You just walk out.

The interior of the Amazon Go store looks pretty much like any higher-end convenience store.

Overhead cameras inside the Amazon Go store.

The first clue that there's something unusual about Amazon's store of the future hits you right at the front door. Almost 900,000 of those were in grocery stores.

Amazon still charged him for it.

The store is relatively small, and can only hold 97 people including the associates who stand ready to help customers, stockers and the staff in the attached kitchen who make up salads and sandwiches, she said.

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