Sunday 22 September, 2019

No more queues: Amazon opens first checkout-free supermarket

Retail giant Amazon is opening its first checkout-free supermarket to the public in the US city of Seattle.

There are no cashiers or tills. Instead shoppers are free to put goods straight into their bags and leave when they have finished without bothering with pesky payment queues.

Shoppers swipe into the store using the Amazon Go app and select their purchases. When they leave, their shopping is automatically billed to their account.

The store, which staff have been testing for a year, uses cameras on the ceiling and electronic sensors to record what customers select. If they put an item back, it is deleted from the total.

Opening on Monday in downtown Seattle, the shop is not completely free of staff. Amazon says there will be employees there stacking shelves, making food, checking IDs for alcohol purchases and helping customers.

The shop had been due to open last year but was delayed, reportedly due to teething troubles with the technology.

Reports so far indicate it is working. A New York Times reporter said he tried to shoplift a four-pack of drinks by wrapping a bag round it while it sat on the shelf and then walking out. His test failed and he was charged for the drinks.

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