SEATTLE — Amazon wants to kill the supermarket checkout line. The online retailing giant opened its first full-sized cashier-less supermarket, where shoppers can grab milk or eggs and walk out without waiting in line or ever opening their wallets.
It's the latest sign that Amazon is serious about shaking up the $800 billion grocery industry.
The new Amazon Go Grocery store, located at 610 E. Pike Street in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, opened Tuesday.
Shoppers scan a smartphone app to enter the new store. Cameras and sensors track what is taken off the shelves. Items are charged to an Amazon account after customers leave the store.
“Yeah, it is weird [to] just to walk out. As we were leaving, I was looking for a checkout, instinctively,” said one customer.
“In this store, we’ve really pushed the envelope with that technology so we can offer things like loose produce, be able to identify what you’re taking from those produce tables and be able to merchandise it in a way that feels familiar to customers,” Amazon spokesperson Anna Fabrega said. “So, you’ll see produce on tables just like you would at a regular grocery store.”
While the store is cashier-less, employees will be on hand to restock store shelves and assist customers who need help finding items.
Business owner Jeff Gardner runs the boutique Standard Goods a few doors down from the Amazon supermarket. He said his employees are what makes his business -- automation isn't for him.
“It’s a lot easier to figure out what people want if you can talk to them. There’s data I guess, people have a lot of data on everybody, but I don’t think you get the same amount of information unless you look at people in the eye and speak to them,” Garner said.
Although Amazon did not get into specifics about their business model, they did say they will still need employees to help stock the store and handle customer service issues.