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DeanL

macrumors 65816
May 29, 2014
1,173
1,106
London
Why all the fancy cameras and scales. Couldn't this just be done with RFID instead?
How would RFID be able to associate purchases to a particular customer? Remember that in Amazon's current scenario, customers only have to tap in and out. No other interaction.
 

npmacuser5

macrumors 65816
Apr 10, 2015
1,463
1,611
I prefer my local grocery store here in the midwest, which is called Hy-Vee. We order our groceries from their site and the next day they arrive during the scheduled window. Someone brings them right to our door. As long as you spend at least $100, delivery is free. Otherwise it's $5. If they end up being out of an item in-store, they will often upgrade you to a nicer item (name brand or larger size) for free. When we first started doing it, the clerks that were collecting groceries were picking out fruits and veggies that were sometimes of lower quality that looked pretty bad. They've gotten a lot better over time, and the few times where we lodged a complaint we were sent an apology letter from the store manager and a $10 gift card. They seem like they really want to get it right and they've been getting better over time. They've even been listening to user feedback and the site is becoming easier to use. I like that our local company is seeing the threat from Amazon and being proactive about it. And that's coming from someone who loves to use Amazon. Competition is always good.

Our stores doing the shopping and delivery have switched to professional shoppers. A slew of startups offering the shopper, delivery, and billing now exist. One thing we do not get for the convenience, coupons and or other discounts. Note, Costco also starting up their service. Same day and two day depending on the merchandise. Change is happening.
[doublepost=1516642345][/doublepost]
[doublepost=1516635067][/doublepost]Wonder what product prices will be...
Amazon will be aggressive with prices, at least for the short term.
 

monster620ie

macrumors member
Jul 19, 2004
96
76
great, now we are going to fire all the cashiers left when this tech expands to all groceries! just great!

i never use self check out anywhere (library, groceries). I go to cashier with hopes that management daily report shows that there is still customers that insist on going to a cashier and atleast keep someone employed. I shop late at night and still insist that the cashier open up instead of the self checkout.
 

cmwade77

macrumors 65816
Nov 18, 2008
1,070
1,200
Why all the fancy cameras and scales. Couldn't this just be done with RFID instead?
Then they would need to attach RFID to each object, cameras and scales means they can simply stock the shelves and walk away.
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How would RFID be able to associate purchases to a particular customer? Remember that in Amazon's current scenario, customers only have to tap in and out. No other interaction.
That would be simple, the RFID reader would be at the checkout, it would instantly "scan" all objects in the cart being pushed through, the customer then taps out and it associates everything to that customer.

But doing this would mean that the customer wouldn't get a running total of their purchases and would be more likely to overspend their budget.
[doublepost=1516645548][/doublepost]
How about an egg salad sandwich and bottle of water, and have it in my hand in 30 seconds...
Umm, don't forget time to drive/walk/etc. to the store, find a parking space (if driving) and then the travel back. All of that can add up to an hour or more in many cities and you can often have the delivery in that same time frame in said cities.
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I'm not so sure how well this will work. As someone who worked in retail, customers would often pick up items and put them back in the wrong place. I wonder if the technology will be able to pick up on that.
If you read the article, they did initially have issues with that as kids tend to do exactly this, but they have sorted it out during the trial.
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It’s a grocery store. The items for sale are food or convenience items that are impractical to deliver.
Not at all, we have these items delivered via Amazon Fresh or Prime Now all the time.
[doublepost=1516645771][/doublepost]
I prefer my local grocery store here in the midwest, which is called Hy-Vee. We order our groceries from their site and the next day they arrive during the scheduled window. Someone brings them right to our door. As long as you spend at least $100, delivery is free. Otherwise it's $5. If they end up being out of an item in-store, they will often upgrade you to a nicer item (name brand or larger size) for free. When we first started doing it, the clerks that were collecting groceries were picking out fruits and veggies that were sometimes of lower quality that looked pretty bad. They've gotten a lot better over time, and the few times where we lodged a complaint we were sent an apology letter from the store manager and a $10 gift card. They seem like they really want to get it right and they've been getting better over time. They've even been listening to user feedback and the site is becoming easier to use. I like that our local company is seeing the threat from Amazon and being proactive about it. And that's coming from someone who loves to use Amazon. Competition is always good.
In other words exactly what Amazon Fresh offers, well almost exactly, Amazon Fresh also offers to bring it inside your house for you if you select a scheduled attended delivery (meaning you must be home).
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I hate when I see that. And there is a special place in hell for people that leave frozen food items on a shelf for canned soup.

That said, I also think there could be issues with this system. I remember staying at a nice hotel on vacation. My 9 year old daughter was bored and thought it would be nice to make sure all the items in the mini bar were all facing forward. By lifting each one the hotel's billing system was triggered and automatically charged my room for a purchase--of everything in the mini bar. There was no "I put it back" functionality. Thankfully they refunded the huge charge I saw on my bill when checking out.

In the case of Amazon people might even game the system. Pick Up a 1 lb. bag of peanuts and also a 1 lb. bag of pistachios, which are priced very differently, and then return the bag of peanuts to the pistachios's shelf. Presto, get a bag of pistachios for peanuts. :)
This is why there are cameras AND weight sensors and is exactly why Amazon has worked so hard on product image recognition over the last few years.
[doublepost=1516646075][/doublepost]
great, now we are going to fire all the cashiers left when this tech expands to all groceries! just great!

i never use self check out anywhere (library, groceries). I go to cashier with hopes that management daily report shows that there is still customers that insist on going to a cashier and atleast keep someone employed. I shop late at night and still insist that the cashier open up instead of the self checkout.
Actually, stores that have installed self checkout lanes have found that their business increases so much that they have to hire more people, yes less are cashiers, but overall there is a net increase in the number of employees and the employees that they have to hire make more money per hour than the cashiers. So, in all honesty getting rid of cashiers isn't a bad thing for employment, in fact it is good.
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Of course it could and it would be easier, but customers would need to scan each item. There solution more technically difficult but better shopping experience, faster and easier.
No, they wouldn't, RFID chips can be read from a distance without issue.
 
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PeterL111

macrumors member
Jun 21, 2015
32
57
I am very curious how the tech will track special cases like when parents bring their kids or someone tall helping a short person grab something.
 

MacTiki

macrumors member
Nov 17, 2008
72
76
I don’t see why they’re doing this. For years all we heard about was how brick and mortar stores were at a huge disadvantage to internet-based stores. Is this a hedge against shipping costs??

This will allow Amazon to eliminate all cashiers at Whole Foods.

This will facilitate the reduction or elimination of the floor staff at Whole Foods. Through the use of sophisticated ai and machine learning algorithms the video surveillance system will know when to replenish the shelves through the use of autonomous devices.

Furthermore the video surveillance system will know the best product placement combinations for specific times of day.

So to answer your question the reason Amazon is doing this is to increase profits through the elimination of the work force.

Major changes are already taking place at Whole Foods.

New lighting throughout the stores to aid in camera acquisition of products.

Reduction or elimination of behind wall stocking as truck to shelf placement will be carried out via autonomous devices.

Welcome to the new Whole Foods.
 

JediZenMaster

Suspended
Mar 28, 2010
2,180
654
Seattle
I’m excited about the potential in this and will be swinging by the Amazon Go store later to check it out.

This concept gives me hope. This Saturday it took me 20 minutes to check out at the local QFC here because folks were being chatty Kathy’s with cashiers since they knew them.

Supermarket is not the place to chat and hold up the line. Want to chat? Great do it when I am not waiting in line behind you. Pay for your stuff and go. At least at Amazon go that won’t happen with fake platitudes of “Hows your day going?”etc just check and bag my stuff and lemme go in peace.
 
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ZMacintosh

macrumors 65816
Nov 13, 2008
1,306
425
[doublepost=1516646075][/doublepost]
Actually, stores that have installed self checkout lanes have found that their business increases so much that they have to hire more people, yes less are cashiers, but overall there is a net increase in the number of employees and the employees that they have to hire make more money per hour than the cashiers. So, in all honesty getting rid of cashiers isn't a bad thing for employment, in fact it is good.
[doublepost=1516646142][/doublepost]

One store that has not had dedicate cashiers for at least a decade or longer, Apple. And most of their locations of tons of employees with decent hourly wages (more so than most cashiers). So i definitely see it as a good thing, to bring in better staff, who will in turn provide better services to customers that aren’t just standing behind a register. I like helpful staff but also like to just go in and get my business done. It’d be nice to see how this works out.
 

SigurTom

macrumors regular
Sep 23, 2015
157
393
I am very curious how the tech will track special cases like when parents bring their kids or someone tall helping a short person grab something.
The help section in the app specifically says not to hand an item to another customer, as it's added to the cart of the person who removed it.

Sorry, shorty, top shelf items just ain't for you.
 

Gasu E.

macrumors 601
Mar 20, 2004
4,765
2,798
Not far from Boston, MA.
It’s a grocery store. The items for sale are food or convenience items that are impractical to deliver.

More importantly, it's a convenience store. It emphasizes ready-to-go meals and snacks, much of it intended to be consumed within an hour of purchase.
[doublepost=1516654319][/doublepost]
great, now we are going to fire all the cashiers left when this tech expands to all groceries! just great!

i never use self check out anywhere (library, groceries). I go to cashier with hopes that management daily report shows that there is still customers that insist on going to a cashier and atleast keep someone employed. I shop late at night and still insist that the cashier open up instead of the self checkout.


As a consumer, I don't need cashiers. What I need are people walking around helping me find things. According to what I read, the Amazon Go shop has those kind of people. Store that provide cashiers rather than consumer helpers are not using their employees to provide me the best possible service.
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The help section in the app specifically says not to hand an item to another customer, as it's added to the cart of the person who removed it.

Sorry, shorty, top shelf items just ain't for you.

I'm short, and have a great deal of trouble reaching items on the top shelf of my local supermarket. Rather than cashiers, Amazon Go has wandering helpers that could do that for me, quickly and easily. At my local market, I either have to spend ten minutes hunting down and begging a busy stock person to help me, for EACH top shelf item; or risk personal injury.
 

MacTiki

macrumors member
Nov 17, 2008
72
76
One store that has not had dedicate cashiers for at least a decade or longer, Apple. And most of their locations of tons of employees with decent hourly wages (more so than most cashiers). So i definitely see it as a good thing, to bring in better staff, who will in turn provide better services to customers that aren’t just standing behind a register. I like helpful staff but also like to just go in and get my business done. It’d be nice to see how this works out.


What Apple store do you go to?

Haven’t been to an Apple store in the past 5+ years that was not packed full of people and a crew of tee shirt wearing employees telling you what line to wait in or table to stand or sit at.

Definitely not a enjoyable shopping experience for me anymore.
 
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Gasu E.

macrumors 601
Mar 20, 2004
4,765
2,798
Not far from Boston, MA.
What Apple store do you go to?

Haven’t been to an Apple store in the past 5+ years that was not packed full of people and a crew of tee shirt wearing employees telling you what line to wait in or table to stand or sit at.

Definitely not a enjoyable shopping experience for me anymore.


I have just the opposite experience. But I have the flexibility to avoid peak days and hours. It sounds as though you go during peak times. It's very tough to staff those hours with enough qualified people to avoid waits.
 

JediZenMaster

Suspended
Mar 28, 2010
2,180
654
Seattle
The best part about this is I won’t have to talk to people. I don’t mind real conversation but the filler platitudes will be gone and no bottlenecks with waiting to checkout.

Hopefully every retail store becomes like this because it’s great!
 

Coffee50

macrumors 6502a
Apr 23, 2015
657
251
This is interesting concept.

There are lot of great questions posed here, but I'm sure Amazon has thought about all of these & then some.

Will there be some hiccups? Of course......but it also seems like by testing this over a year, they've probably addressed a host of issues shoppers could run into.

Plus, they still have actual employees in the store (just no cashiers / registers / line).
 

genovelle

macrumors 65816
May 8, 2008
1,475
1,674
How would RFID be able to associate purchases to a particular customer? Remember that in Amazon's current scenario, customers only have to tap in and out. No other interaction.
iBeacons. They know where you are via your device and if your basket recognizes the items you put in them via tags that would become super cheap because wide use drives down the price.
 

ZMacintosh

macrumors 65816
Nov 13, 2008
1,306
425
What Apple store do you go to?

Haven’t been to an Apple store in the past 5+ years that was not packed full of people and a crew of tee shirt wearing employees telling you what line to wait in or table to stand or sit at.

Definitely not a enjoyable shopping experience for me anymore.

It’s not what Apple store(s) I go to, but when are you going and what are you buying?

Never had to wait for a person, with the exception of picking up a product that is not in a shelf or an online order and it was under a few minutes.
 

MacTiki

macrumors member
Nov 17, 2008
72
76
It’s not what Apple store(s) I go to, but when are you going and what are you buying?

Never had to wait for a person, with the exception of picking up a product that is not in a shelf or an online order and it was under a few minutes.

Well there’s the thing if I need to pick a time that is convenient for them to give me good service i.e. purchase a product then that’s a problem. Furthermore if quality of service is dependent on the product being purchased then that is also a problem.

Really would like to know what Apple location you frequent as that may account for your shopping experience.

Things seemed to get worse after the recent remodels and the name change from Apple Store to Apple fill-in-the-blank-of-your-location. Maybe Apple is trying to tell us they no longer want people shopping there but to treat it more like a exhibit or museum.

For the record I have been to Apple locations twice in the past month arriving at 10:45 am and 4:30 pm respectively. Each experience was similar: crowded and chaotic.
 

intz2nu

macrumors 6502
Oct 28, 2012
398
40
Amazing so first they dominate and begin a path to slowly eliminate all department stores like Wally-World, K-Mart, Target, etc etc because of more people shopping online and now its only to see that soon the domination of our common local department stores will soon be replaced by Amazon people-less brick and mortar stores. Hahaha somethings such as this is just sad.
 

Tinmania

macrumors 68040
Aug 8, 2011
3,524
1,009
Aridzona
What Apple store do you go to?

Haven’t been to an Apple store in the past 5+ years that was not packed full of people and a crew of tee shirt wearing employees telling you what line to wait in or table to stand or sit at.

Definitely not a enjoyable shopping experience for me anymore.
I have to agree, and I used to really like (most) Apple Stores I visited. Nowadays it is usually a din of confusion. It is laughable to brag about "no cashiers" when the Customer/Employee ratio is already around 50:50. It's just that the employees aren't very efficient, and the customers are often--sorry for this--idiots (I watched a blue-shirt spend 20 minutes explaining that Airports don't do bluetooth, when a simple "no" would have sufficed). Mix in the kids hogging devices for playtime, people using the mac displays as an internet cafe, and I just want to get out.

When I stepped inside, I was immediately struck by how many employees were working on a Sunday afternoon. The store was packed with people, about half of whom were employees. Somehow, they all seemed busy.

There was no clear place to stand or person to approach, and I wandered before finding an available employee. He passed me along to someone else, who handed me off to a third person.
http://www.businessinsider.com/appl...ows-retail-stores-are-too-disorganized-2018-1


Mike
 
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