Monday, 14 May 2018

Some Pros & Cons of Amazon Go

I will be interested in hearing updates on how the new Amazon Go grocery shop is going in Seattle. 

While I like the idea of no lines, I am not so fond of check out staff possibly losing their jobs. However, it looks instead as if it will be retraining time for them: in customer service. Amazon needs staff to answer people's queries. They probably - excuse the pun - won't be hitting the breadline. I have had heard that Amazon allows all their staff to do any study they want to, at the company's expense, so those who work for Amazon and don't want to make the shift to customer service should be well-looked after.

However, Amazon is not everyone. What about other staff who may well find their supermarkets taken over by Amazon, or retooling to automation, in the relatively near future? I suspect that the Amazon model will be the way which many retail stores will go fairly quickly: with seamless self-check out technology app, supported by on-hand customer service staff. As the kinks are ironed out, and economies of scale kick in with the technology, the automated format will apply to almost every type of retail there is. Some may rely on a store card rather than an app: it may simply work with your visa card.

On the first few days, the Amazon go store was choked, but things are now evening out. It seems to be running smoothly, but I am sure there will be plenty of opportunity for things to go wrong, for code to need tweaking, for fraud, and for all the things we humans like to complain about! 

One customer asked "I know it was always coming but I'm not ready...I don’t even like the self checkouts, I like humans and having a chat? Give me the good news?

I think the good news is that you won't have to stand around waiting for someone to change the receipt roll in there till, or behind someone else who is just rushed back to pick something else up while you wait and wait and wait, or in a line behind four people with huge trolley-loads. You can still talk to the staff who stock the shelves and staff the Deli: you just don't have to wait for the someone to find their wallet, drop their wallet, try to find their customer card, dither about whether to buy the item which turns out to not be on special, replace the can of beans because it has a ding in it...

And I, for one, am looking forward to that!



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