Business & Tech

Amazon Go store opens — with no cashiers, lines, or registers

SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 22: Amazon Go employee Mari Avellaneda stocks shelves using a mobile device at the Amazon Go store, on January 22, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. After more than a year in beta Amazon opened the cashier-less store to the public. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Stephen Brashear/Getty Images
Amazon Go employee Mari Avellaneda stocked shelves using a mobile device at the Amazon Go store in Seattle.

SEATTLE — No cashiers, no lines, no registers — this is how Amazon sees the future of in-store shopping.

The online retailer opened its Amazon Go concept to the public Monday, selling milk, potato chips and other items typically found at a convenience store. Amazon employees have been testing the store, which is at the bottom floor of the company’s Seattle headquarters, for about a year.

The public opening is another sign that Amazon is serious about expanding its physical presence. It has opened more than a dozen bookstores, taken over space in some Kohl’s department stores and bought Whole Foods last year, giving it 470 grocery stores.

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But Amazon Go is unlike its other stores. Shoppers enter by scanning the Amazon Go smartphone app at a turnstile. When they pull an item of the shelf, it’s added to their virtual cart. If the item is placed back on the shelf, it is removed from the virtual cart. Shoppers are charged when they leave the store.

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The company says it uses computer vision, machine learning algorithms and sensors to figure out what people are grabbing off its store shelves.

The store is not without employees — Amazon says there will be people there making food, stocking shelves and helping customers. On Monday, workers were on hand to help shoppers find and download the Amazon Go app on their phones.

Amazon says families can shop together with just one phone scanning everyone in. Anything they grab from the shelf will also be added to the tab of the person who signed them in. But don’t help out strangers: Amazon warns that grabbing an item from the shelf for someone else means you’ll be charged for it.

At about 1,800 square feet, the store will also sell ready-to-eat breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Items from the Whole Foods 365 brand are also stocked, such as cookies, popcorn and dried fruit.

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The company had announced the Amazon Go store in December 2016 and said it would open by early 2017, but it delayed the debut while it worked on the technology and company employees tested it out.

A customer is handed a complimentary shopping bag as he heads into an Amazon Go store, Monday, Jan. 22, 2018, in Seattle. More than a year after it introduced the concept, Amazon opened its artificial intelligence-powered Amazon Go store in downtown Seattle on Monday. The store on the bottom floor of the company's Seattle headquarters allows shoppers to scan their smartphone with the Amazon Go app at a turnstile, pick out the items they want and leave. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Elaine Thompson/AP
A customer was handed a complimentary shopping bag outside the store.

SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 22: A shopper scans the Amazon Go app upon entetering the Amazon Go store, on January 22, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. After more than a year in beta Amazon opened the cashier-less store to the public. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Stephen Brashear/Getty Images
A shopper scanned the Amazon Go app upon entering the Amazon Go store.

SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 22: Shoppers scan the Amazon Go app on the mobile devices as the enter the Amazon Go store, on January 22, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. After more than a year in beta Amazon opened the cashier-less store to the public. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Stephen Brashear/Getty Images
Shoppers scanned the Amazon Go app as they entered the store.

SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 22: Shoppers Peter Freese, right, and Peter Ray check out pre-made meals at the Amazon Go January 22, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. After more than a year in beta Amazon opened the cashier-less store to the public. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Stephen Brashear/Getty Images
Shoppers Peter Freese (right) and Peter Ray checked out pre-made meals.

A customer looks overhead in an Amazon Go store, where sensors and cameras are part of a system used to tell what people have purchased and charge their Amazon account, Monday, Jan. 22, 2018, in Seattle. More than a year after it introduced the concept, Amazon opened its artificial intelligence-powered Amazon Go store in downtown Seattle on Monday. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Elaine Thompson/AP
A customer looked overhead in the store, where sensors and cameras are part of a system used to tell what people have purchased.

An emailed receipt after leaving the Amazon Go store in Seattle, Jan. 16, 2018. The technology inside the new convenience store, opening Jan. 22, 2018 in Seattle, enables a shopping experience like no other Ñ including no checkout lines. (Kyle Johnson/The New York Times)
Kyle Johnson/The New York Times
An e-mailed receipt after leaving the Amazon Go store in Seattle.