By Tisha Sharma, Class VIII, Neerja Modi School, Jaipur
In 2017, Amazon entered the grocery business by buying Whole Foods, spending more than $13 billion to buy the supermarket chain known for its at times, sky high prices.
For a long time, Amazon had been only making small tweaks here and there in putting a mark in the immense number of Whole Foods in USA, like discounts or free home delivery for Amazon Prime members. But, a Whole Foods north of Georgetown (Washington D.C.) has shown Amazon’s elephantine involvement with the supermarket chain.
Amazon remarkably designed the store to be almost completely managed by science for the first time in history. The technology, Just Walk Out, consists of hundreds of cameras placed around the store. They analyse the customer’s movements with a bird eye’s view. Sensors are placed under every item in the store, and whenever we lift an object, it automatically recognizes the good and charges us accordingly, as the bill shows up in our Amazon account.
Here’s how it works; Once you scan your hands at the kiosk, you link all your future shopping to your Amazon account, and then as you keep on collecting items, the sensors track your moves and keep on creating a virtual cart for you as well, then you can just walk out, no physical payment necessary! The bill would be paid through your Amazon account later.
Dilip Kumar, Amazon’s vice president of Physical Retail and Technology expressed the value of these experimental stores. Mr. Kumar commented, “ We observed areas that caused friction for customers and we diligently worked backward to figure out ways to alleviate that friction.”
“We’ve always noticed that customers didn’t like standing in checkout lines. It’s not the most productive use of their time, which is how we came up with the idea to build Just Walk Out.”
However, these stores have sparked some controversy in societies, battling between the “dystopian feeling of the method” and “its state-of-the-art technology.”