We Pay a Visit to Amazon Go


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We fulfill a promise to our listeners and provide an in-depth review of Amazon Go - including food, assortment, experience, and how the technology will be applied and extended into the future.

Show Notes

Main Takeaways

  • Brian and Phillip take a trip to flagship Amazon Go Store in Seattle and enjoy the experience.

  • How is an Amazon Go location set up, and what are some of the logistics in its day to day operations?

  • Can the Amazon Go model be applied to other retailers?

  • Shipping With Amazon might be Amazon's most significant business venture to date.

Is Amazon Go the Future?

  • Phillip says yes, and that future is now.

  • Amazon Go is basically a grocery store that allows you to pick up any item and that item is automatically tagged, added to your cart, and is then charged to your Amazon Prime account upon leaving (as long as you have the app)).

  • Phillip and Brian were excited about Amazon Go over a year ago.

Did the Experience Live Up to the Hype?

  • Brian and Phillip ventured to an Amazon Go location together to see what the experience was actually like.

  • Brian says the Amazon Go experience was "good, easy, and exactly what it was advertised to be."

  • Brian also experimented with picking items up and then putting them back on the shelf.

  • Phillip says that he loved the experience.

Amazon Go: The Set Up:

  • Phillip and Brian agree that the store is not huge, but more akin to a convenience store (Or a "Whole Foods) convenient store" according to Brian).

  • Phillip describes the products as "a really wide selection of a lot of things with unique selections in between" and goes into some serious detail of all the food items that are for sale.

  • There was also a good selection of high-end items.

  • How does the set-up contribute to the overall experience?

  • Phillip points out that some of the sensors that track customer activity looked more commercial as opposed to industrial.

  • What kinds of sensors are being used to detect what products are removed from the shelves?

Amazon Go: The Haul:

  • Since it was breakfast time, Brian walked out with a sandwich from a locally sourced bakery that was pretty good (for a convenience store breakfast sandwich).

  • Phillip also left with a breakfast sandwich.

  • Both Brian and Phillip agree that there were some pretty good, higher-end selections to be found.

  • In addition to free cream cheese for bagel purchases, there was also free Cholula Hot Sauce and Sriracha packages. Bless.

  • Alert: there was no hot coffee to be found anywhere in the store. (Unless Brian and Phillip couldn't find it.)

  • For the products that were of the local variety (as in not pre-packed or mass produced), Phillip points out that there were unique QR codes that must help the sensors identify these items.

The Logistics and the Competitive Landscape:

  • Brian questions what the minimum number of staff would be to run a store like this, given the unique new factors this retail set up introduces.

  • Will Amazon release any numbers detailing what it costs to staff a store like this (especially for a store that is not a flagship store).

  • Phillip hopes that he sees some sort of Moore's Law that comes with this sort of tech innovation.

  • Philip also points out that there are other companies that are implementing this technology in much larger stores than the Amazon Go store.

  • Phillip thinks there will be innovation from a lot more players aside from just Amazon.

  • Brian adds that we will see a lot more examples of this, a lot quicker than we might think.

  • Will Amazon make this technology available for other retailers? (Probably not for Walmart.)

Beyond Amazon: Implementing Consumer Ecosystems:

  • Phillip wonders if other retailers would find success in a retail model like Amazon Go without the existing ecosystem that Amazon has established with its customers.

  • Will this technology be useful in any other retail experience aside from a convenience store?

  • With the phasing out of physical media for music, Best Buy is giving Phillip fewer reasons to shop there. (Who knew CDs would be such a trigger point for Phillip?)

  • Brian reveals that he only shops at Amazon and Costco.

  • Brian cleverly states that "there is no reason to go out of your way to have more convenience."

Shipping with Amazon: A New Goliath on the Horizon:

  • Shipping WIth Amazon (SWA) is probably a bigger announcement than Amazon Go.

  • Phillip predicts that SWA might be the biggest part of Amazon's business in five years.

  • Phillip calls FedEx and UPS the "cockroaches of logistics."

  • With Target's recent acquisition of Shipt, Phillip points out that other entities are rising to compete with Amazon.

  • Brian wonders if UPS or FedEx are anticipating the shrinkage that may occur once SWA gets up and running.

Final Thoughts on Amazon Go:

  • To harken back to Episode 21, Brian exclaims that Amazon Go "is the future of shopping."

  • Phillip says that a few years ago, he would have made fun of Amazon for a venture like Amazon Go, but Amazon has continued to prove that they can deliver on experiences like this.

  • Brian wonders if Amazon will release a new phone this year.

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