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Shopping On The Go

Walking out of a store with purchases but without having to stand in a line at the billing counter is definitely tempting but unrealistic. But what if that is now possible?

Teens at the Young Writers' Club contemplated about what it would be like to shop in an Amazon Go Store and walk out without having to stand in long lines at the billing counter.

The Amazon Go Store is a physical store that allows a seamless shopping experience. What that means is that using the Amazon Go app on the phone, an individual can walk into the store, scan the code and then shop. Once done, one can simply walk out without having to stand at the billing counter to pay. The smart technologies used at the store, keeps track of the items bought and bills the individual on the app. There are no issues of change or having to wait behind another person with a cart full of groceries. Needless to say this is an attempt to elevate customer experiences by reducing time.

First tested in 2016, these cashier less stores sprang up in different cities across the U.S and expanded to London as well. It made in roads in to India as well with a store in Kochi in 2018. However, it seems like after that store there haven’t been new ones coming up anywhere.

First Reactions

No one at the Young Writers’ Club had ever shopped in an Amazon Go Store although everyone of us had heard about it somewhere. Watching a shopping experience in a cashier less store, made us feel that this is smart, innovative and particularly useful during pandemics. No lines any more and efficient inventory management put together could make shopping even more convenient.

After the initial excitement died down

While the idea sounded amazing, possible problems started to crop up in our minds when we started to visualize ourselves shopping in an Amazon Go store.

  • What if your phone’s battery is dead or you have forgotten your phone and you need something urgent? There is no alternative way of paying.

  • People who are afraid to make online payments and prefer cash payments may shy away from this option. Having said that, the whole objective of enabling this kind of payment is to pave the way to a cashless economy. Going cashless is possibly going to become more and more common.

  • How about the student community? They are allowed to carry phones to schools and sometimes even to colleges? What if they need to buy something- stationary, a snack or something to drink? That whole segment of the population is cut off from these stores. That can’t be advantageous.

  • What if the phone gets lost or stolen and is misused?

  • There always would be the fear of being wrongly billed. Especially so when one picks up something and changes one’s mind.

How about the student community? They are allowed to carry phones to schools and sometimes even to colleges? What if they need to buy something- stationary, a snack or something to drink? That whole segment of the population is cut off from these stores. That can’t be advantageous.

Questions galore

With something as new and unheard of as cashier less stores, there is plenty of ground to think, ask questions, look for answers and also share what everyone knows, as a part of the collaborative learning experience.

  • One of the teens discovered that one could use the Amazon Pay wallet and every purchase gets deducted from that wallet. What happens when that is exhausted? If a top up isn’t done then purchase will not be possible. Is there some sort of warning or advance notice to let the customer know that the balance is low? Safe to assume that there must be a system in place to intimate the customer. Also use of credit card saved with the account could to a certain extent solve this problem as long us it is within the set limit of the card of course.

  • Can Amazon Go compete with the local/kirana stores where familiarity plays a big role. A kirana store owner may even allow credit payments on account of familiarity. But that kind of connection is not going to be possible in Amazon Go store.

  • How do they handle limited stock situations? What could be the system in place? The video of the shopping experience shows Amazon employees on the floor. Perhaps they would be keep track of inventory. Is there a technology to make it far more efficient and easy given large volumes instead of having to depend on human beings to keep track of fast moving inventory?

  • A Tit Tok video shows a Carrefour retail store in Dubai that works on a very similar principle and is trusted and used by many. How will Amazon Go compete with that store?

  • Shopping online is so much easier. Why take the trouble to go to a physical store to shop for groceries?

Amazon Go and India

One point of view suggested that many in India are not tech savvy and do not trust machines. How many people own smart phones and know how to use all the features is debatable. Walking out of a store without paying using any of the commonly used payment methods could make many people uncomfortable. Even more so if it is getting billed to their phones. The fear of being wrongly billed and the repercussions that could follow, could dissuade many from using such a store.

Whether this kind of a technology based store is going to work in India or for that matter anywhere in the world? What kind of technology is being used? Are there aspects that are being ignored in all the excitement? All this and possibly more in the discussion next week.


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Both weekday and weekend batches are available at the Young Readers' Club. While this program is for the 8-12 age group, the Young Writers' Club program for the 13-15 age group offers a weekly platform to read and discuss curated articles from the news, observe writing approaches and practise one's writing skills.

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