New Amazon Go stores are destined to change America

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Amazon Go Grocery opens up 26 convenience stores throughout America with “Just Walkout Technology”

Caroline Donohue '20, Business Director

Amazon, as most of the world knows, is one of the biggest enterprises alive and allows people to basically buy anything in the world and have it shipped to your door the next day. In 2020, Amazon announced that they would open 26 “AmazonGo” convenience stores for grocery and gourmet food shopping in major cities throughout America.
Prior to this notion, Amazon had already created an online food basis where customers could order food and get it shipped to their house promptly. It was not surprising to me that Amazon would open convenience food stores, although I overall do not believe it will be a beneficial move for the company.

To begin, I understand the incentive behind it, because it makes grocery shopping very easy and everything is accessible at the touch of one button on your phone. Amazon designed an app called “AmazonGo” which can be downloaded onto iPhones and Androids. Although, in order to use the app or enter the store you must have an Amazon account. I think this could go two ways; it either incentivizes people to create Amazon accounts, or they don’t have an account and therefore won’t visit the stores.

For example, I don’t have an Amazon account, or at least an active one, and I am already suspicious about the actual activity of the store, so I wouldn’t create an account just for a food shop. Also, the closest “AmazonGo” convenience store to Westport, Connecticut is in New York City.

When I stumbled upon the media about new “AmazonGo” stores and apps, it brought no red flags to me. A new way to buy groceries, a convenience store for Amazon users; it all seemed perfectly fine. When I watched “Introducing Amazon Go and the world’s most advanced shopping technology”, I actually felt fear.

This is where the creepy part comes into play, and what I am truly suspicious of. Amazon’s website mentions their new “Just Walk Out Technology”, which detects when products are taken or returned from shelves and keeps track of them on the app. There are no check-out lines and the technology used to monitor shopping is used in systems like computer vision or deep learning. The beauty of this feature is that there is no hassle, no lines and you can just pick up whatever you want and then leave. Although, is nobody really discussing the fact that you literally can just pick up an apple or a sandwich and your phone will detect the fact you are picking it up and record it? What kind of sorcery is that and how safe is it, really?

That feature itself scares me enough to never set foot in one of these stores. And also, if you don’t have a phone or your phone died– you have no possibility of getting into these AmazonGo stores, so there is a big flaw in that.

Although I personally believe that this technology could be world-crushing, others have acclaimed it one of the most future-forward thinkings that could truly impact the way we live. A Forbes article speaks upon Americans’ views of the store, as consumer Eddie S. from San Francisco believes that the future of grocery shopping lies in Amazon’s new convenience stores and that the experience was “truly magical”.

Overall, “AmazonGo” convenience stores are extremely new to America but have either excited or scared people away. I am curious to see what comes next for these Amazon stores and how popular they really will become. I can’t see one opening in Westport anytime soon, but if it does, I’m not stepping foot inside. Whatever the technology is, I want no part of it.