Amazon Go Redefines Real-Time Marketing

By Jeff Dinneny, Director of Sales Operations and Marketing

Amazon continues to take on established norms for how we shop. Their online-only business model revolutionized the retail industry in the early 2000s. With their latest shopping concept, Amazon Go, they are bringing technology into our brick-and-mortar stores to eliminate the least efficient step in the process, lines.

Amazon Go is a new concept that introduces Just Walk Out shopping. The checkout-free experience uses the same technologies as self-driving cars, sensor fusion, and deep learning. Customers enter the store and shop as normal while their free Amazon Go app tracks the items they select and adds them to a virtual cart. When the customer is done shopping, they just… walk out. No lines, no checkout. Shortly after, Amazon will charge your account for the items you left with and send you a receipt. Currently, the only Amazon Go location in Seattle, WA, is in Beta testing, but is expected to open to the public in early 2017.

Amazon Go will be best suited for urban centers and densely populated areas such as universities. Both are concentrated with large groups of consumers who are both time-sensitive and tech-savvy which plays right into the benefits of the frictionless shopping experience Amazon Go offers. Stores will have a 360-degree view of each customer matched with the physical location and shopping behavior, which will enable hyper-personalized offers. Shoppers can receive a personalized message as they are browsing the store about a particular brand or item to try and influence their choices. All of this will be driven by massive amounts of data.

This will bring new meaning to the term “real-time marketing.” Amazon Go utilizes advanced machine learning, computer vision, and artificial intelligence to collect and analyze consumer data in real time. The more you shop, the more data collected which will lead to stores being able to accurately predict consumption habits based on your past shopping behavior.

This new concept will not completely transform retail overnight, but once a generation of consumers grows up using this new technology, the traditional method of waiting in line to check out will seem old-fashioned. We will hear stories about long waits, having to scan each item individually, and pulling a credit card out of our pocket.

As this new technology develops, it will be interesting to see where there may be setbacks. Will there be errors in the sensors, causing customers to be over- or undercharged? Will there be resistance to this change? Some people may value the personal touch of talking to an employee and receiving good customer service. But this seems unlikely. Amazon has proven with online shopping, an overwhelming majority prefers convenience. And convenience is exactly what Amazon Go provides.