All of the usual suspects in the press–including us!–reviewed the new Amazon Go store that opened to the public in Seattle this week. There’s a lot of “what does this mean for the future?” beard rubbing by the media. Meanwhile, the everyday people who are trying it seem to love the novelty.
It’s billed as the first store without cashiers or a checkout counter–the promise being that you never have to wait in line. Using computer vision and a suite of sensors, Amazon tracks its customers, watching their every move, allowing them to just walk out with the goods they want.
But what is it really like, to the shoppers who poked their heads in? For that answer, we turned to the world of social media–Instagram, Twitter, Yelp, Foursquare, and Google–to see what people were saying about their first shopping experience.
The verdict? It’s overwhelmingly positive. People call it both “cool” and “creepy”–often in the same sentence–but no one is actually creeped out. Instead, they note that the store works as seamlessly as advertised, even when they attempt to fool the system. The selection is that of a 7-Eleven with really good sandwiches. And while there’s no line inside, there’s, ironically, a block-long line outside. Perhaps most notably, the Amazon Go store has been treated like any other FOMO destination by people online. It’s a place where visitors are smiling and taking selfies, welcoming the new era of shopping surveillance in the interest of not talking to a checkout clerk.
There’s No Line Inside, Because It’s Outside
— Tom (@stripedypaper) January 22, 2018
I’m in Seattle and there is currently a line to shop at the grocery store whose entire premise is that you won’t have to wait in line. pic.twitter.com/fWr80A0ZPV
— Ryan Petersen (@typesfast) January 22, 2018
What About The Selection?
Many were almost thrilled with the variety of prepackaged foods and other goods available. Cody Severinski put it well on Google:
Seriously, people love those sandwiches:
Others weren’t so breathless about the high-end bodega approach. Yelp’s Anthony D. can’t imagine that it can scale, while Umang Wadhwa pointed out its selection limitations on Google.
How’s The User Experience?
To many, like Yelp’s John M. or “Anton” and Anatoliy Maslyanchuk on Google, the experience of Amazon Go is nothing short of a revelation.
Went and checked out the Amazon Go store that just opened up today. Very slick. You scan in and then grab what you want and just walk out with it. Sensors and cameras are used to track what you leave with. The process worked really well and we were in and out in just a few minutes. Lots of take and make meals that we will try at some point. #amazongo #quickshopping #grabandgo #nocheckout
The future is now! Amazon Go launched today so I decided to check it out for shits and giggles. I was surprised by the ease of it and aside from a line up to get in, it was a pleasant experience. Download app, scan code on entry, chose items, leave. Wish all grocery shopping was this convenient! . . . #amazon #amazongo #seattle #shopping #convenience #groceries #justwalkout #thefutureisnow #automated #nolines #novelty
Simply because of the UX, many people literally call the store “cool” or some equivalent, which is an absurd accomplishment for a place that is basically just a drug store.
It’s Fun To Shoplift
Perhaps we’ll laugh at the sentiment in a decade, but what was appealing to many people, like Yelp’s Adam S. and Hugo C., was the thrill of shoplifting . . . without shoplifting. The perfect crime?