amazon-go

Every time I walk into a retail store, I complain. I grumble to my wife about the same pet peeve every time we go shopping.

After walking the aisles and filling the basket, you then must go through the most inefficient checkout process. First you unload everything in your basket, then it’s rung up, then you put the items in bags that go back into your basket before you can walk out of the store. There must be a better way. Amazon Go suggests there is.

Shouldn’t it be easy in today’s world, with today’s technology, to cut through the mess and reinvent this process? Yes — and that’s what Amazon wants to do with its new retail stores. It wants to reinvent retail the way it reinvented other industries.

Today, Amazon has a few retail bookstores, and it intends to break into other retail sectors. Due to some hiccups, the rollout of the Amazon Go stores seems to be on hold — but the need is real, and I expect Amazon to figure out the problems and open them sooner rather than later.

Startup Issues

What if you could walk the aisles of a store and put the items you want to purchase in the bags in your basket, and then when you are done, simply walk out the door to your car? Your smartphone app would let you get charged for your purchases automatically. Your items would be scanned as you collected them. The whole process would be easy.

That’s the thought, anyway. It seems this should be easy to accomplish with today’s technologies, but apparently it’s not. Amazon is having some trouble at this early stage. When its stores are ready for prime time, it will be interesting to see whether they can enter the retail arena and transform it the same way it transformed online commerce.

Skipping the Checkout Line

Sam’s Club has its own app. The first time I tried it, I got miserable results. I tried to scan a package of batteries and walk out, bypassing the cashier. I couldn’t do it. It kept trying to get me to place the order as if I were at home and schedule when to pick the item up later in the day. Since I was standing in Sam’s Club, that obviously made no sense.

Confused, I walked up to the customer service counter and asked for help. All I wanted was…