Amazon to open first checkout-free grocery store

The Amazon Go store includes ready-to-eat meals prepared by on-site chefs, plus meal kits with ingredients for preparation at home.

Amazon has announced plans for its new grocery and convenience store, which will open to the public in 2017. Amazon is once again pushing the boundaries of technology with Amazon Go to create a unique, hassle-free shopping experience by offering consumers groceries, convenience products and prepared foods, all without having to go through a checkout line.

Located in Seattle, the Amazon Go concept is currently being tested by Amazon employees. The brick-and-mortar store spans 1,800 square feet and will not require consumers to pay for their items before leaving the store. Instead, the company has technology that allows shoppers to take items and get billed for the products later.

"With our Just Walk Out Shopping experience, simply use the Amazon Go app to enter the store, take the products you want and go! No lines, no checkout," said a statement on the Amazon website.

The company describes the technology as similar to that used in self-driving cars, in that it uses computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning. Shoppers will use the Amazon Go app to automatically add products to a digital shopping cart. Futuristic-looking turnstiles will recognize a customer's account as he or she enters the store. The system will automatically know when something is added to the cart and will even know if an item is put back on the shelf.

Amazon Go is reportedly eyeing as many as 2,000 brick-and-mortar locations in the next 10 years after it tests major markets in 2017. Amazon is planning to expand its other physical retail locations and announced over the summer the opening of a fourth bookstore location in Chicago.

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Items in the Amazon Go store include grocery essentials, snacks and ready-to-eat meals prepared by on-site chefs, plus meal kits with ingredients for 30-minute preparation at home.

The news of Amazon Go comes less than one week after Walmart announced its latest push in the convenient, digital grocery segment. Walmart opened its second-ever Pickup with Fuel location in Colorado, a 4,000-square-foot brick-and-mortar that allows customers to pick up online grocery orders and shop for convenience-store snacks. The smaller-than-average Walmart locations also offer gas pumps, coffee and a dedicated drive-thru for picking up online orders.