Eliminating the checkout line should speed things up for grocery shoppers in a hurry, but there was still a line to get through as an Amazon Go store debuted in Chicago on Monday -- a line to get in the door.
After more than a year of testing its concept with company employees in Seattle, the e-commerce giant in January opened its first convenience store without cashiers in the city Amazon calls home, where it now has three Amazon Go stores.
Now Amazon is branching out. The 2,000-square-foot store just opened in downtown Chicago is the first Amazon Go outlet outside of Seattle, with future stores said to depend on how the current ones fare.
Chicagoans embraced the notion, at least in social media posts showing a throng of people waiting to get inside on opening day.
Amazon Go offers ready-to-eat salads, sandwiches and snacks, as well as other packaged convenience store offerings. While none of the prepared food is hot, the store sells heatable food and meal kits.
Consumers scan an app on their smartphone as they enter the store, then cameras and other sensors track shoppers and add items to a virtual cart as they're pulled off shelves. Customer accounts are automatically charged for the purchases as they leave.
Still, the concept does have its detractors, with one person tweeting that he would take "a conversation over a digital kiosk any day."