Amazon began testing the new grocery pickup service, now open only to Amazon employees, Tuesday in Seattle. Shown is a contractor working on an Amazon.com Inc. drive-through grocery location under construction in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle.
At the moment, there are only two AmazonFresh Pickup locations set up, both in Seattle. Amazon's first Amazon Go store is now in private testing in downtown Seattle.
Amazon Go, for the unfamiliar, is a futuristic grocery store devoid of human cashiers. Drew Herdener - an Amazon spokesman - told the Times, "We are always thinking about new ways to serve customers, but thinking is different than planning".
But when they open to the general public, they're to be exclusively for members of Amazon's $99-a-year Prime loyalty program.
The AmazonFresh Pickup service is now open only to Amazon employees. The technology is supposed to automatically detect when you take an item off the shelf, and keep track of it in a virtual cart.
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According to WSJ, the technology works with fewer than 20 customers in the store; however, when that number is exceeded Amazon Go has issues tracking people and products.
AmazonFresh Pickup is now in beta testing with employees at two locations in Amazon's Seattle headquarters.
Amazon is also said to be exploring an electronics-store concept that would be much like Apple's retail stores to sell Amazon devices and services, such as the company's Echo smart home speaker and its Prime Video streaming service.
Amazon already has a grocery delivery service in some cities. The idea was that, using an array of sensors, customers could simply walk into stores, pick up goods, and walk out, with the items being charged to their Amazon account.
It's tempting to say that the delay is a stark reminder for Amazon of the challenges it will face expanding its expertise in online retail to physical retail.
For Amazon, the grocery store business in India, won't be easy to crack.