Is Amazon Defining the Future of Bricks and Mortar Retail with AI?

Bricks and mortar has expenses like staffing that don’t exist in online shopping. They also have checkout friction that slows the process and is one of the pain points. Self checkout that you see at BJ’s or a few grocery stores might be good for the business but they have never been good for the shopper.

Effectively there has not yet been an Amazon like “One-Click” solution to the problem. Until now. Or at least it would so appear and Amazon is the source.

I have no idea whether this is an Amazon only project for their bricks and mortar stores or something that is being planned as technology that will be made more broadly available. Regardless it will change retail and the last refuge of the working class, low paying retail jobs will also be out the window.

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Is Amazon Defining the Future of Bricks and Mortar Retail with AI? by

7 thoughts on “Is Amazon Defining the Future of Bricks and Mortar Retail with AI?”

  1. Hey Mike!

    First impression: hey look at all those nice people shamelessly shoplifting!

    Question: Why don’t you like self checkouts in grocery stores? Apart from them getting hijacked, that is. I actually use them at one of the stores I shop at because … and here’s a user experience insight for store layout planners … they are more roomy. The store in question has ENORMOUS shopping carts (really subtle, huh?) and very narrow assisted checkout lanes, but the self-checkout lane is wide. I only ever buy a couple of things from this store, like water and medicines, and I’d almost say I enjoy using the self-checkout in Spanish. I don’t find it takes any longer to check out my few groceries than it would via the traditional lanes. On the other hand, I consider that I’m putting people out of work by doing so and feel guilty. But squeezing those huge carts through those narrow checkouts is a pain and claustrophobic.

    Amazon’s idea is an interesting one. Thanks for covering.

  2. When the volume goes up then the efficiency of an untrained check out clerk (me) goes way down. I shop at three grocery stores and two of them have self check out and even with the store that I buy in bulk in and thus have lower volume its still not ideal.

    The interfaces are unpredictable, they throw off weird and erratic errors and in the end take more time and significantly more mental energy than a regular check out. I used to use them and finally switched back to human check due to the unpredictability of the agro.

  3. Interesting! I knew you would have an experience-based reply on that, Mike.

    Truly, this is noteworthy technology. I’m imagining the day when people will simply walk into hotels, check themselves in with no help and call up robots to deliver room service. Very space-age, and all that, but certainly not the answer to our economy’s troubles.

    I was very angry when the local library put in self checkouts because I’ve honestly always enjoyed chatting with the librarians on the way out.

    Technology is, indeed, a mixed blessing.

  4. Well I doubt that checkout jobs are the answer to the real needs of the economy or to fulfilling human needs.

  5. This is crazy, but I’m still wondering if there are limitations. What if someone takes something in my bag or if I put something back at the wrong place ? Will I still pay for it ?

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