Are cashless stores the future of shopping? -

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Are cashless stores the future of shopping?

Roman Kaczorowski

Roman Kaczorowski
AI Engineer
May 23, 2018

In January this year, the American giant Amazon opened the world’s first cashless grocery store. With this innovative solution, shopping can be simpler than ever. You enter the store, choose the products you are interested in, and you leave. Without going to the cash register and, most importantly, without queues.

So how the shopping looks like?

Before visiting the store, you should download the Amazon Go application to your phone and then register with it, providing the necessary data, like payment card. It is needed to scan the QR code from the app at the entrance. After crossing the gates, the client is under the watchful eye of the cameras that record every movement. The further process of shopping is the same as in a traditional shop, except that once you’ve finished shopping, you can just leave it.

A detailed bill appears in the application only a few minutes after departure, and the card is debited with the appropriate amount. Amazon also provides an option to remove an item that is baselessly charged. If there was an opposite situation, and there is no product on your bill that you have taken, don’t worry. This is at the expense of the company!

How does it work?

amazon go artificial intelligence

Amazon, of course, does not explain precisely how the shop works. The only thing we know is that the facility is maximally filled with the most modern cameras that analyze every movement of customers, and the store shelves are equipped with appropriate sensors. The manufacturer is proud that such purchases are possible thanks to the technology used by autonomous cars, i.e., computer vision, machine and deep learning. The shop knows when a product is picked up or put on the shelf and everything is stored in a virtual basket.

To make sure the system is entirely sure what we put in the bag, some of the products have unusual markings. All this to ensure that we have a chicken sandwich instead of a tuna sandwich.

shelf in the cashless store
computer vision cashless store

In December 2016, the company officially announced its plans for the new store. It took more than four years to develop and was then tested for one year and was only available to staff. The company was struggling with major problems, such as distinguishing similar people who were equally dressed, and for a long time, the system was only functional when there were only 20 people inside. Fortunately, most of they managed to overcome these issues. The store is located in Seattle, at Amazon’s headquarters, and from January 22, everyone can shop Monday to Friday from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm.

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