"We wrote the [Amazon Go] press release first and then started building the product," said Gianna Puerini, vice president of Amazon Go. "We had to figure out how to do it." Via Laura Heller
With Amazon Go’s fifth store slated to open soon in Chicago, they definitely did figure it out. But as any Quality Assurance (QA) nerd will ‘attest’, it involved a mountain of testing and a few stumbles along the way. How is Amazon’s seamless cashier-less shopping experience? Joe Lucca and I checked out their second Chicago location to find out.
Most notable as we approached the entrance were the bright rays of warm sunlight, the puffs of cloud that floated through the open doors and the harps that played a delicate melody. Or maybe that only happens for us.
The Chicago store we visited on Adams and Clark Street was surprisingly utilitarian. You won’t find flashy signs outside to draw your attention. Just a (relatively) small orange sign outside the front doors.
The store is kind of like a convenience store except smaller, cleaner and better organized. There are refrigerated goods including meal kits, shelved goods and a small selection of personal care items.
The items for sale cover breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. They also sell a small selection of Amazon-branded products like mugs and cups. No alcohol or hot beverages at this location. If we weren’t fixated on observing everything and taking photos, it would have been quick and easy to grab a few items for a reasonably-priced lunch.
We counted eight Amazon Go employees (based solely on the number of bright orange shirts) readily available throughout the store for questions. They all smile a lot.
Our visit coincided with the traditional lunch rush – high noon – and the store quickly got busy. Many people walked in, made quick selections and walked out, as designed.
One shopper, who was clearly not there for the first time, overhead Joe and I discussing the experience and made it a point to say “It’s pretty cool!” Agreed, kind stranger!
How It Works
Much has been written about the seamlessness of the Amazon Go experience and we found it to be pretty smooth. Step one is to download the Amazon Go app on your smartphone. Without it, you won’t get into the store.
You can link the app to an existing Amazon account or set up a payment method within it.
This article’s author calls Olenick her professional home away from home. Olenick is a global software testing firm with headquarters in Chicago, IL. You can learn more about her on LinkedIn.