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Amazon Go Debuts as a New Grocery Store Without Checkout Lines

Dec 05, 2016

E-commerce giant Amazon finally revealed long-awaited details about its new physical, grocery store concept on Monday morning. Called Amazon Go, the new store is touted to eliminate checkout lines and allow customers to enter the store using a new mobile app.

The 1,800-square foot Go store offers prepared foods—including fresh breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks—and will sell grocery staples like baked goods, bread, cheese, and milk. Amazon (amzn) said its customers will find items from well-known brands (but declined to reveal which brands) plus items from artisanal merchants. Customers will also be able to pick up Amazon Meal Kits, the company's Blue Apron-rival, which includes with all the ingredients one would need to make a meal for two in approximately 30 minutes.

Amazon Go requires shoppers to scan their smartphones upon entering the store, and the company's "just walk out" technology will detect when products are taken off shelves (or returned to shelves) and keeps track of what is in your virtual cart through these smartphones. When a shopper is done shopping, he or she leaves the the store, and the company will charge the Amazon.com account.

Amazon didn't reveal much about this detection technology, but said it was using a mixture of computer vision, artificial intelligence, and other technologies that are used in self-driving cars.

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The first Amazon Go store is located in Seattle and is open to Amazon employees, who are testing the new concept. Amazon said it will open to the public in early 2017.

Noticeably missing from the announcement was any mention of Amazon’s online grocery delivery and ordering service, Amazon Fresh, which was rumored to be part of the new concept. Also missing was a curbside pick-up service that was reportedly going to be included for online grocery orders that can be brought to a customer’s car, a service that rival Walmart (wmt) also offers.

This isn’t the first brick and mortar expansion for Amazon. The e-commerce giant has been steadily expanding its bookstores in cities in the U.S., including Seattle as well as Boston and San Diego.

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