Amazon Go, the online retailer’s “Just Walk Out” convenience store in downtown Seattle, is still in private beta mode three and a half months after its unveiling – and some reports suggest the concept is facing tougher sledding than anticipated.
The checkout-free store is just one of several brick-and-mortar experiments under way at Amazon. A different drive-up concept, AmazonFresh Pickup, seems nearly ready for its debut in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood and SoDo district.
Unlike AmazonFresh Pickup, Amazon Go envisions a system where customers can walk in off the street, pick up anything they want, and “just walk out.” Their purchases would be tracked using high-tech object recognition and inventory management systems, matched up with the customers’ mobile app and automatically charged to their Amazon account.
Since December, Amazon has been testing the system at an 1,800-square-foot store on Seventh Avenue. Only employees are allowed to enter the store, but when the store was unveiled, Amazon promised that it’d be open to the public in early 2017.
Amazon has issued no updates since December, and this week, Bloomberg News reported that Amazon’s “Just Walk Out” just isn’t ready for prime time yet.