On Jan. 22, amid much hype, Amazon threw open the doors of its revolutionary cashierless store. Using sophisticated cameras and a simple phone scan, the store allows shoppers to walk in, pick up what they want, and walk out. No lines. No cashiers. No fuss.
While the quick-in and quick-out appeal might be super-convenient, it does come with a price.
Here's a quick look at why Amazon Go may not be the best thing since sliced bread, and a deeper look at how it may affect the economy.
1.) Super Techy Or Super Creepy?
Your online browsing and shopping activity is already tracked. If you step into Amazon Go, the giant e-tailer will also know if you prefer Oreos to Chips Ahoy. Do you really want to give the commerce giant more knowledge about your personal preferences than it already has? This isn't "Big Brother is watching." It's more like "Thanks for shopping with Big Brother."
2.) Less Impulse Control
The longer we have to think about something, the less likely it is that our actions will be guided by impulse. With Amazon Go's speedy shopping experience, that last-minute dawdling over items and putting some back while waiting your turn at the checkout, is obsolete. Also, when people use any abstract form of payment, they tend to spend more. That's why Amazon Go might be the perfect place for overspending on impulse purchases.
3.) Loss Of Human Touch
Few commercial interactions are as intimate as the one shared with the cashier in your local grocery. With Amazon Go, that human touch may soon be gone forever. While these reasons might be enough to convince you to skip the trip to Amazon Go if you live in Seattle, it gets worse. Financial analysts predict it won't be long before Amazon opens more cashierless stores around the country. It's also likely that other retail giants will soon open their own brands of Amazon Go.
If the cashierless trend swells, it may dramatically erode the second-most-common job in the country; there are currently 3.5 million Americans who work as cashiers. It's not just groceries that will be impacted.
Amazon has revolutionized the way Americans shop, but this new trend is taking things to an entirely new level. What's next? Cashierless clothing boutiques? "Just Walk Out" electronic stores? Tens of thousands of retail workers have already sacrificed their jobs to online convenience. Will that number soon triple?
You can't stop technology from advancing, but you can help keep the economy thriving.
- Shop local small businesses.
- Order less online. Why not help a local community member in business instead?
- Choose American made. When you need to order something online, choose an American seller and manufacturer.
Amazon Go is super-cool and futuristic, but the toll it may take on our economy is worth a second look.