Eyes on the Aisles: Amazon Go
Amazon's other brick-and-mortar footprint is via 13 Amazon Books stores in urban markets. More locations are already planned. Modeled on Amazon.com, the stores face all book covers outward on the shelves, and tags list their Amazon.com star rating, customer reviews and additional reading recommendations. Institute members can click here to view more photos.
When Amazon opened its much anticipated, cashier-less Amazon Go store last month, it seemed that the futuristic prototype could be one of the company's crazy, one-off experiments.
But just one month later, Recode has reported that Amazon plans to open as many as six more of the convenience stores this year in the Seattle and Los Angeles markets.
Main rival Walmart, meanwhile, has its tech incubator, Store Number 8, working on a proprietary solution dubbed Project Kepler.
And last week, TechCrunch revealed that a startup called AiFi is "emerging from stealth" to offer its own artificial intelligence (AI), sensor and camera network-based system for checkout-free stores. AiFI claims it can supporting tracking for up to 500 shoppers and tens of thousands of SKUs. The company will launch a demo store in the San Francisco Bay area as well as a pilot store with a larger grocer in New York later this year to showcase its capabilities.
According to TechCrunch, AiFi's capabilities extend to tracking shopper behavior, "including things like if they’re shopping in groups, what items they’re picking up and putting back, their gait, their body poses, where they go in the store, and even identify if they’re doing something abnormal, like shoplifting. The system today is designed to use a combination of technologies, including facial recognition, to identify shoppers during their session, but in the future this could be connected to their past sales history to make personalized recommendations."
While Amazon retains some first-mover advantage, competition is hot on the company's heels. AiFi co-founder Steve Gu admitted to TechCrunch that it's currently expensive to get its system up-and-running, but anticipates costs associated with the AI processing power will go down in the months ahead.
Check out images from the first-of-its-kind Amazon Go location below: