Amazon Says It's "Almost Ready" To Get 1,000s Of Grocery Store Cashiers Fired

Late last year we noted Amazon's efforts to 'disrupt' the traditional grocery retail model by introducing small format stores that allow customers to simply walk in, pick up what they want and walk out.  The concept store, dubbed AmazonGo, tracks a customer's every move, including each item they remove from store shelves, allowing them to skip long, often frustrating, check out lines (see: Amazon Goes Offline With Bricks-And-Mortar Grocery Chain; Envisions Opening 2,000 Stores).

Now, after nearly a full year of testing their Seattle concept store with employees, Amazon says their cashier-less grocery store is just about ready to go live.  As Bloomberg notes this morning, the company has already begun hiring construction managers and marketing staff to build out a store base.

The e-commerce giant unveiled Amazon Go last December, saying it planned to open the store to the public early this year. However, the company encountered technical difficulties and postponed the launch to work out the bugs, The Wall Street Journal reported in March.

 

Seven months later, challenges remain, but the “just walk out” technology has improved markedly, says the person, who requested anonymity to speak freely about the project. And in a sign that the concept is almost ready for prime time, hiring for the Amazon Go team has shifted from the engineers and research scientists needed to perfect the platform to the construction managers and marketers who would build and promote the stores to consumers.

Of course, many analysts expect that Amazon will eventually roll out their grocery technology in the ~350 Whole Foods stores that they just acquired for $13.7 billion.  That said, implementing the technology in a 40,000 square foot grocery store might be a little more difficult than their current 1,800 square foot concept store so we won't hold our breath on that one.

For those who missed it, here is a look at AmazonGo in action:

So, why is this important?  Well, beyond the time it will save us from having to wait in frustrating checkout lines, there are nearly 40,000 grocery stores in the U.S. employing roughly 3.5mm people, many of whom are cashiers.

As we've noted before (see: 4 Signs That Spell Doom For Traditional American Grocery Chains), grocery stores operate on razor-thin margins that hover around 1-3% leaving the entire industry completely incapable of absorbing even the slightest financial shock...like the financial shock that might occur when a new competitor comes along and eliminates one of your highest cost buckets and allows them to drastically undercut you on price...

Of course, while the demise of the traditional grocery store will undoubtedly take time (recall that people were calling for the demise of Blockbuster for nearly a decade before it finally happened), make no mistake that the retail grocery market 10-15 years from now will not include many of the well-recognized companies that consumers visit weekly as of today.

Meanwhile, we're almost certain that this lower demand for minimum wage labor will prompt Bernie and his "Fight for $15" crew to argue even harder for higher minimum wages...after all, the cure for lower demand is just higher supply...it's simple economics 101 really.

Comments

overbet mtl4 Wed, 11/15/2017 - 13:43 Permalink

Why cant they advertise realistcally? Do they take SNAP? Then why is there a black woman shopping at whole paycheck super market? My wife came home bitching the other day some organic veg she buys a lot was literally twice the price at whole foods versus sprouts. The exact same product, quantity and brand. Double the price. 

In reply to by mtl4

Automatic Choke BennyBoy Wed, 11/15/2017 - 15:25 Permalink

If they have the bugs out, this is really a clever way to eliminate shoplifting.I doubt they have the bugs out, though.....   I suspect many false charges or missed charges, especially when the people density becomes high.   Wifi signals will overlap, many faces will be in view of sensors, they won't know whether you picked up that big cheez-whiz or if the obnoxious little old lady pushing you aside picked it up. 

In reply to by BennyBoy

SantaClaws scraping_by Wed, 11/15/2017 - 14:10 Permalink

"Nothing so high-tech. Flash mobs with masks and without cell phones and chip cards."Good point.  Are flash mobs, with mob members wearing bandannas and motorcycle helmets (like in Brazil), one of the "bugs" Amazon is working on?  Maybe Amazon and Whole Foods will require that each customer offer their fingerprints and face for recognition before being allowed entry.  Likely Israel -- experts at profiling --- will supply the decades-proven software.Eventually, will only Democrats be allowed entry into Whole Foods?  Or only so-called "progressive" Democrats?

In reply to by scraping_by

effendi SantaClaws Wed, 11/15/2017 - 16:15 Permalink

Santaclaws, 3, 2, 1 before some "civil liberties" outfit takes legal action for "discrimination" when a muzzie in a burkha or niqab doesn't remove her face covering and is refused  entry/service. When that happens every dindu (males as well, can't discriminate against trannies) will buy a burkha or niqab (they sell on ebay for 14.95) and flashmob those stores. Plenty of space to stash their "purchases" (5 finger discount purchases) under a burkha.

In reply to by SantaClaws

BarkingCat scraping_by Wed, 11/15/2017 - 14:26 Permalink

No need.  Line your bag with any material that blocks wireless transmissions and you're shoplifting with ease.I would actually suggest having 2 compartments and only one that blocks the frequencies.That way when they start looking at videos,  it will not be immediately apparent that you have stuffed your bag full of goods and walked out without paying.For further confusion to the humans that will certainly be reviewing the video,  take some of the items that you put in your bag and put them back on the shelves.

In reply to by scraping_by

83_vf_1100_c overbet Wed, 11/15/2017 - 14:32 Permalink

The PC advert was the 1st thing I spotted. Not effective on over 100 IQ folks.Every movie, every show gots to have a black in the power position. Back in the real world, looks like the single Mom Laquishas, retirees whose retirement planning came up short and the soccer moms trying to fill the family budget gap are soon to be joining the buggy whip guys on the unemployment line.A bit OT but I went to ACE hdwr the other day for a few screws and washers to pull the tilt steering pins on a Chevy truck. It worked out to 98 cents so instead of running plastic I handed the kid some zinc based fiat. I felt embarrased for him trying to do the simple math. I hope he is an outlier or we are fucked competing with the Chinese.  

In reply to by overbet

Malleus Maleficarum 83_vf_1100_c Wed, 11/15/2017 - 14:46 Permalink

They're just trying to be 'inclusive and representative of reality,' dude! The PSYOP is in overdrive for anyone paying attention. For example, turned on the TV for background noise, and American Dad was on. I heard them say something about an 'Anti-Zionist Aryan Brotherhood' gang. That caught my attention, so I watched for a minute. In the end, some cop whose grandparents survived the Holocaust framed some innocent white dude and they all had a good laugh. The implication being 'criticize Zionism and you're the same as a Nazi prison gang member, so you deserve whatever happens, including false arrest on planted evidence!' Subtle, but effective PSYOP technique (mask the twisted message with laughter) and downright sickening. Everytime I make the mistake of watching TV, I see something similar.

In reply to by 83_vf_1100_c

waspwench Malleus Maleficarum Wed, 11/15/2017 - 16:21 Permalink

They are not trying to be "inclusive and representative of reality."

They are trying to be "exclusive" as in exclude all whites, and "representative of fantasy" as in represent the fantasy world they think ought to exist.

This kind of advertising has an oddly negative effect on me and I find that I frequently don't buy the product. I just can't identify with it. Can't imagine why. :)))

In reply to by Malleus Maleficarum

2_legs_bahhhhhd overbet Wed, 11/15/2017 - 14:58 Permalink

I give your wife credit, at least she noticed the price difference. Most of the tards in hole foods think that paying more, increases their standard of living.

Deplorables could have some fun by going into these places, load up your cart full of perishables, then leave it in the back corner on your way out. Hole foods passes along the cost to their customers. It's like a reverse subsidy financed by arrogant lefttards.

In reply to by overbet

Slammofandango ParkAveFlasher Wed, 11/15/2017 - 14:34 Permalink

The simple explanation for why they don' sell bibles at that flagship bookstore is because they don' stock items that don' sell. Any one of us can get a bible without searching the market or at all needing to pay for one. Bibles are otherwise free and there simply is no market for the bible itself; at least not those which are common and without some special physical embellishment to add intrinsic value to that which is otherwise mundane and given away free of charge.I can think of a lot of things that make it obvious that Jeff Bezzlebub is evil, but not selling bibles isn' one if them.

In reply to by ParkAveFlasher

Slammofandango ParkAveFlasher Wed, 11/15/2017 - 14:34 Permalink

The simple explanation for why they don' sell bibles at that flagship bookstore is because they don' stock items that don' sell. Any one of us can get a bible without searching the market or at all needing to pay for one. Bibles are otherwise free and there simply is no market for the bible itself; at least not those which are common and without some special physical embellishment to add intrinsic value to that which is otherwise mundane and given away free of charge.I can think of a lot of things that make it obvious that Jeff Bezzlebub is evil, but not selling bibles isn' one if them.

In reply to by ParkAveFlasher

junction peddling-fiction Wed, 11/15/2017 - 13:52 Permalink

15 years ago, gambling casinos used slot machines that accepted coins and paid out winnings in coin or casino type dollar coins.  Casinos employed staff to empty out the coin hoppers when full.  Now, some casinos have one person refilling the slots with a stack of paper receipts on which the slots print out a bar coded paper receipt showing the amount due when you cash out.  Some casinos do away entirely with the receipts, using a credit card type card that stores your gambling balance, AFAIK.  Most of the jobs emptying coins from slot machines are gone.  Also gone are most of the staffers who cleared slot machines of coin jams and other similar mechanical malfunctions.  So when slot machines now malfunction, there are a lot fewer people on the floor to take care of the problem.  That's life, customer service is now a luxury item. 

In reply to by peddling-fiction