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No lines, no checkout: Amazon Go is set to revolutionise shopping

Vishal Krishna
23rd Jan 2018
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With the possibility of Amazon’s technology being white labelled to Indian retailers, including biggies like Reliance and Future Group, the shopping experience is set for an overhaul.

Shopping will never be the same again. All thanks to Amazon Go, the convenience store of the future. Launched on January 21 in Seattle, the Amazon Go store promises to be the smartest retail shop and experience on the planet. Here’s why:

  • All you need to get started is an Amazon account, the free Amazon Go app, and a recent-generation iPhone or Android phone.
  • Once you have the AmazonGo app, scan and enter the store. The store recognises who you are, and readies itself to serve you.
  • Once inside, there will be no store assistants apart from the people baking and making fresh food on counters.
  • WiFi or Bluetooth LE connections will ensure customer recognition at every aisle.
  • Proximity sensors and cameras recognise that you have picked up a particular product from the shelf and it is credited to card/cash in your AmazonGo app.
  • If you put the product back, the item’s cost is deleted from the AmazonGo app and money is debited.
  • You only need to bag the items and exit the store. No checkout lines. Your Amazon account automatically gets charged for what you take out the door.

Who would have thought shopping could ever be completed without standing in the checkout line?

Amazon has been building this technology for five years, and in the long run, it may even think of white labelling this to other retail stores.

This technology can potentially increase footfalls for retailers, and make their data crunching real-time as purchases take place at the aisle. This allows brands to play it at a strategic level, with retailers, because a big part of strategy is to understand customer behaviour. This will let brands work with retailers to target consumers better.

This in-store payment and checkout technology allows Amazon to even white label Alexa.

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Predictive and prescriptive analytics

For example, Manthan is building platforms where context is brought back to shopping with predictive and prescriptive analytics. The company uses Alexa to help CEOs, the marketing team, and empower store managers with insights.

Atul Jalan, CEO of Manthan, says: “Real-time insights by using data from stores across the nation are already happening. This will change the way CEOs work with their teams as at a strategic level you can forecast consumer behaviour far better than the past.”

The AmazonGo app could, over the next few years, go into over 1,000 Whole Food stores and many Amazon book stores.

The whole point of single view of the customer on an app makes an organisation very powerful. If Google knows the search habits of customers, Amazon knows the intent and purchase habits.

India is a large retail market. The organised industry is pegged at $65 billion in size. So, these technologies make a big impact on shoppers and businesses.

Digital retail revolution

No wonder Kishore Biyani, the Chairman of Future Group, showcased his plans for a digital retail revolution within his group. He calls it retail 3.0.

“We are going to use predictive and prescriptive technologies to understand customers shopping across categories,” Kishore says.

Sources say since Future Group has tied up with Manthan they could be using voice platforms powered by Alexa (white labelled as Maya). The platform has voice capabilities so the CEO can track what happens to each category in each store.

Sources say that these technologies will change the way Indian retail targets shoppers by region and preferences.

In the next few days, AmazonGo will generate millions of data points. The future of retail, as of many other sectors, will be in intelligent AI software giving insights to shoppers and businesses.

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