My Thoughts On Amazon Go
Okay, this post may get a little backlash for being controversial because everyone and their mama are Amazon junkies (me included), but I really need to get this out so please limit the hate mail. Last week, Rob and I were visiting Chicago and we stumbled upon one of the city's four Amazon Go stores, and we had to check it out.
The first thing you are required to do is download the Amazon Go app. Entry is not permitted without the app, but luckily it's a quick install and setup. Rob was the one who got the app after we figured out that it wasn't required for both of us to have an app to enter. He would just need to scan me in once we got inside.
This particular location was downtown and connected to a prestigious looking office building filled with smartly dressed business men who all looked too busy to consider human interaction. Clearly a great choice for a convenient store without cashiers.
We entered the bright, clean store, complete with Amazon branding throughout and were stopped by a line of turnstiles with a scanner attached to each. *For the record I had to try several Google searches to find the correct word for turnstiles, so you're not alone if you didn't pick up on that. I've added a photo here to the right for reference. Anyways, Rob held his opened app with his custom barcode on it to the sensor and the gates opened to allow him access. He then had to scan one more time so that I could enter too.
To be honest, it all seemed a little pretentious to me—as if only the elite of society could have access to this new form of shopping. This is America though, so I'll let that one slide under the rug. We entered the main cabin of the store and were presented with 6 or so rows of pantry type items, with refrigerators and climate controlled shelves pressed along the perimeter. As mentioned before, it was immaculately clean in there and well organized. Every part of the store was labeled and pretty sufficiently stocked from first glance. As we made our way through the store, I couldn't help but be unimpressed.
I don't know what I was expecting, but it was nothing more than an over-glorified gas station marketplace. Basically like a Sheetz or Wawa to put it in perspective.
All of the food items on the shelves were so generic and could easily be found on the shelves of any convenience store. Sodas, chips, candy, popcorn, all of your basic items were there. Sure, they were probably more organized than most places, but there was nothing out of the ordinary.
Again, I'm not sure what I was thinking walking in. There sure as hell wouldn't be a golden chocolate fountain in the middle of the room, but I couldn't help but feel underwhelmed.
We paced along the refrigerated items which included pre-made sandwiches, wraps, sushi and salads. I could see this being convenient for the employees in the building when they need a quick lunch or snack, but if I wanted a sandwich, my first thought wouldn't be to pick one up from an Amazon go. At least at Sheetz they make your food "fresh". I was disappointed by the variety, though I realize that these stores are mainly for convenience.
I will say I was impressed by the fact that Amazon is now doing pre-made meal kits. Who knew!? They had a bunch of different delicious sounding choices. I could see myself stopping by an Amazon Go to pick up a meal kit for dinner on my way out from work or something like that. I ended up not getting anything, while Rob picked up a pack of gum and a cookie.
Then the best part came—we walked out with our stuff without having to wait in any lines or have any sort of human interaction (lol). A few minutes later, Rob received a receipt on his phone with everything he picked up listed there. I'll admit that part was pretty cool. Overall though, I think Amazon go is a little overhyped. They need to market it for what it really is—which is a tiny cafeteria of boxed food items. Maybe my mind would change if I lived near one, but for now, I think my life is fine without cashier-less food stores.