As technology advances, people are not only forced to adapt to rapid changes in forms of communication, but also to major transformations to the fabric of society itself. It started with cell phones and texting, and has moved to automated restaurant kiosks and self-checkouts at drug stores.

Now things are about to shift even further.

Amazon developed a plan back in 2016 – Amazon Go – to open numerous retail stores across the U.S. with a new technological focus. Now that plan has become a reality. At these stores, shoppers can pick up any items that they want and walk right out of the store without waiting in a line to be checked out. It sounds a lot like shoplifting when you think about it. It’s the future of physical shopping, offering a convenience never before seen for consumers.

As if that wasn’t enough, Amazon just upped the ante by opening the first Amazon Go Grocery store. Fresh produce, delicious snacks, and dairy products are at a consumer’s fingertips without the hassle of waiting in line. And while this technology is still in its infancy, we could see stores like this one across the entire country within the next few years. We need to be ready for that.

So how does it work exactly? Let’s take a look.

How to Shop at Amazon Go Stores

When you enter an Amazon Go store, you’re greeted with a sight much like the gates seen at a subway station. You’re asked to download the Amazon Go app and scan the QR code, which can be retrieved from Apple or Google depending on your device. After scanning yourself – and family members, if applicable – everyone can go their own way and the app will keep track of any items taken off of the shelves by each person.

Image by Amazon via Financial Times.

From then on, you shop much like you would at any other store. Looking around, employees will be present answering customers’ questions and stocking shelves, but none will be on cash registers; there aren’t any in the entire store! Hundreds of cameras can be spotted on the ceilings, though they’re not there to catch shoplifters. Instead, the cameras exist to keep track of the inventory on the shelves. Through tracking software and item recognition, no stock will go missing.

Even more fascinating than this is what happens when you pull an item off of a shelf. The store’s sensors recognize that the item has been taken by you and puts it into your virtual cart on the app. Put the item back on the shelf and it leaves your virtual cart. In fact, you can put the item back on ANY shelf and your virtual cart will recognize it.

Finally, when you have everything you want to purchase, just leave the store. It sounds suspicious, like you’re stealing it all, but you are charged after leaving the store. All purchases are made through your Amazon account moments after you leave the store. It might even sound terrifying, but it’s actually quite safe. Amazon Go Grocery stores work pretty much the same way: walk in, grab your food, and walk out. It’s that simple.

. . .

There you have it. Shopping in Canada’s about to change with convenience in mind. Is it scary? Maybe a little, but this technology is here to make our lives easier. And while there will be less personalized cashiers available, those workers will still exist and be invaluable as they develop new skills and help us enter the digital age.

Don’t have an Amazon Account? We have a course for Online Shopping with techKNOWtutors that will teach you the basics. During our drop-in sessions, we can even help you set up an Amazon account.

At techKNOWtutors, we realize that adapting to technology isn’t easy. Although most services have closed, we remain open – digitally – to answer your internet-related questions. If you need help with improving your digital literacy, send us an email at techknowtutors@cscnl.ca or join our Facebook group and send us a message.

Better yet, sign up for one of our online classes that we offer for FREE every week! Until then, stay in the techKNOW.

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