Signage is displayed outside an Amazon.com Inc. Go grocery store in Seattle, Washington, U.S., on Wednesday, March 8, 2017.
Bloomberg via Getty Images
By Kirsten Korosec
November 15, 2017

Amazon is preparing to launch Amazon Go, an ambitious and experimental retail concept that uses sensors and other technology, not cashiers, to identify and automatically charge customers.

For the past year, Amazon employees have been testing, and trying to trick, the technology in its 1,800-square foot shop Amazon Go store in downtown Seattle. Now, the tech is apparently close to being ready for the public, Bloomberg reported. For example, employees dressed up in bright yellow Pikachu costumes to try and fool sensors and cameras that identify when someone is trying to buy products at an Amazon Go marketplace. Amazon’s tech wasn’t fooled.

However, some kinks remain to be worked out such as accurately charging people in groups.

In practice, Amazon Go customers would be able to walk into the store, grab the products they want, and walk out without waiting in line for a cashier. If the idea is a success it could help Amazon reach even more consumers and disrupt the traditional brick-and-mortar retail business—again.

Amazon unveiled its plans for Amazon Go last December. The location offers prepared food, grocery staples like bread, cheese, and milk. Amazon is expected to sell its own meal kits too.

What’s not clear is if branded items from Whole Foods, which Amazon acquired in August for $13.7 billion, will also be in the Amazon Go stores.

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