News Feature | April 14, 2017

Plans For Amazon Go Store Delayed

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Amazon Box

Store of the Future delayed to  work out technical difficulties.

Target chief information and digital officer Mike McNamara admitted in January that he was “kind of skeptical” about the launching of Amazon’s new store of the future, explaining that the technology has been around for more than a decade. However, the process still requires help from humans behind the scenes, as Recode reported.

In December 2016, Amazon unveiled a new Amazon Go store in Seattle that boasted no cashiers and no checkout lines, staffed instead with cameras and sensors that could  track items as they were added to a customer’s cart as they shopped. The app works through a combination of computer vision and deep learning technologies, according to CNN.

It turns out that the cashier-less store still has a number of kinks to work out before moving forward with the public launch that was previously scheduled for the end of March, according to The Wall Street JournalTrials at the Seattle  test location discovered that the system had difficulties tracking and keeping up with customers when there were more than 20 people in the store at one time, and it also experienced problems tracking items that were moved from their allotted locations on shelves.

 Amazon has been testing the store at its campus in Seattle, with employees serving as beta testers. Amazon officially announced the store last December with a video showing how it will eventually work and said at the time that the store would be open to the public in early 2017.

Meanwhile, McNamara said that it is still possible for Amazon to make the tech work at a single location, stating “I’m quite happy for them to take the lead and, if it works, I’m quite happy to copy them,” but he said that any real rollout of the technology would be cost-prohibitive for most retailers.