(Photo by Ashley Nickle)
SAN FRANCISCO — While in town for BrandStorm, I checked out the much-ballyhooed Amazon Go, and it definitely made an impression.
The technology worked pretty much as advertised: you open the Amazon Go app, walk in, grab an item or two, walk out, and you get a receipt for those items.
A smiling employee greeted me at the door, and then I walked through the aisles (some surprisingly wide) to check out the salads, fresh-cut fruit and meal kits available.
One snafu in the technology arena: the app rang me up for a different product than I selected. I’d picked up a Sargento Balanced Breaks snack pack, but the app listed me as buying Laughing Cow cheese (not as delightful without celery or crackers, neither of which I had at my disposal on the road in a hotel room).
The items were about the same price, so I wasn’t overly concerned, but it was obviously an error. I reached out to customer service about it but have yet to hear back.
Overall, the technology was impressive, but two other elements — seemingly contradictory — caught my attention.
First, I was surprised the store had a relatively sizable seating area, separate from the aisles. You could sit and eat your food, grab a cup of water or even use a restroom. Because convenience is always the most emphasized attribute of Amazon Go, I had not expected that a space to relax for a quick break would be part of the equation.
On the other hand, when I looked at my receipt, the first thing I noticed was the “trip time” statistic, ostensibly showing the efficiency of my shopping experience.
All things considered, I’d be surprised if we don’t see Amazon Go locations popping up everywhere in the coming years. When you only need a couple of items, it is hard to beat the experience of running in, grabbing those products, and rolling right back out with a minute or two.
Amazon Go is coming up fast on a dozen stores, and I’m guessing the expansion will only continue — just at a much faster pace — in the coming years.