Amazon Builds A Prototype Store Run Almost Entirely By Robots

The new store will sell food and drink items and as well featuring an in-store pharmacy.

There is currently a new prototype in place which demonstrates the future of online shopping giant, Amazon. According to a recent report by the New York Post the prototype is a near-future Amazon supermarket, called Go, and has no cashiers or checkouts. The convenience store will be 10,000 to 40,000 square feet on two stories, and will only employ a few real people. The rest of the workers will be a workforce of robots, who will bag all of the items for the customers who are browsing the store on the level below. Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, has claimed that he wants the new store to include a ground level where the shoppers can physically touch and select items themselves, according to recent

Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, has claimed that he wants the new store to include a ground level where the shoppers can physically touch and select items themselves, according to recent reports. These items will consist largely of typical food products such as fruit, beer, and so on. The shopper floor may also include a pharmacy, which would be an entirely new branch of Amazon. This new section will also feature human “greeters” who will additionally double as security to deter shoplifters.

Bezos has claimed that he believes that some of these stores will able to be fully functional with as little as just three human employees, and a maximum of just ten when needed. The main roles of the real workers will be menial clerks, encouraging people to sign up to Amazon “Fresh”, restocking the emptying shelves, managing the drive-thru facility and assisting the robots when required.

Some reports have even speculated at the possibility of Amazon having no human employees at all in the future. The lack of human employees is a huge benefit in money terms. It will mean that there will be no need for payroll, whilst the Amazon model currently stands to generate an operating profit margin of 20%. This figure is a huge difference to the current industry average of 1.7%, according to the Food Marketing Institute.

In 2015, a similar automated store kiosk was created by a group called Eater Greater Des Moines, whilst even as far back as the early nineties, ideas for automated stores can be found. During 1937 a completely automated store called Keedoozle (as in “key does all”) was launched in three separate locations, before failing due to technical difficulties. With the rate of robots replacing people in the workplace constantly increasing, the spread to supermarkets replacing their human cashiers with automated kiosks is rapidly increasing too.

The Amazon robot supermarket model would continue the trend by replacing most of the clerks with robots. In recent years, Amazon has been slowly introducing robots into their company. In 2012, they spent $775 million, acquiring the company Kiva for the purposes of robotic warehouse automation. As well as this, there is the long speculated drone delivery service, which was featured in a recent Super Bowl advert. Recent reports surrounding the new supermarket prototype have suggested that the new stores may only be available to those who have an Amazon Prime membership. The reason for this is believed to be for security purposes, as “In the view of Amazon, people who can afford Prime memberships aren’t likely to shoplift.”

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