Amazon Go: Amazons computer vision technology

One of the most dynamic parts of the retail industry is technology. This factor evolves with the passage of time and market demands. This study tries to explain this phenomena by demonstrating how Amazon Go has transformed the supermarket buying experience. It also provides an overview of how this system works. The report also discusses some of the technological advancements in this system. While the parent firm has not written about or previewed its technology, sensor fusion and RFID are thought to be the brains underlying Amazon's Go technology. This technology has many benefits that outdo the cashier service system where individuals serve their clients both at the shelves and storefront. The Amazon Go reduces this friction among clients hence saving their time and resources. Despite all these benefits, the technological advancement has been adopted by only one retail shop due to its initial cost and sophisticated technology.

Keywords: Amazon Go, Filings, RFID, Sensor Fusion, Walmart, Customer friction.


Going into a shop and taking items without paying is referred as theft and it is always treated equally to burglary. Secondly, for those who choose to follow the queues in retail shops are always discouraged by the time they take to check out. Consider a retail shop where you shop all your items and leave without having to line up and at times quarrel with the cashiers over overpriced and wrongly branded products. Well, Amazon seems to have adopted a system that solves all these problems. Amazon Go is a system where you go into their stores, pick items and leave without paying or checking out (“How ‘Amazon Go’ works: The technology behind the online retailer’s groundbreaking new grocery store”). Job killer, computer vision, and shoplifting are some of the phrases that people were using to refer to this system when it was first rolled out by Amazon to the public.

This company value’s the speed with which they serve their clients since its inception. Amazon Go was foreseen when Amazon broke the record as the fastest shipping service company. This record was a massive value addition to its reputation and history. Same day and same hour deliveries were first achieved by Amazon before other firms such as eBay emulated their services and later followed by other firms (“Computer vision and deep learning technology at the heart of Amazon Go”). This makes Amazon a long time pathfinder for other retailers. However, the big question remains whether Amazon Go is the game changer for the industry. Reduction of lines and checkpoints in retail shops is a market challenge that every person wants to avoid at all times. Even though this invention is coupled with some challenges both at the storefront and shelves, the new technology seems to be a revolution in the retailer industry. In a nutshell, the new technology has changed our shopping experience.

Amazons computer vision technology operation

The end of amazon’s grocery checkers has been brought to an abrupt end by the high tech retail locations whose way of operation has been kept out of the public domain for security purposes (“Amazon Go, deep learning, and a better retail experience”). The firm is not answering any questions neither from the media nor providing previews on how the system operates. Moreover, its workers are also not allowed to disclose any information regarding its operations. However, certain aspects can be used to deduce how the system works.

From the Amazon video that was used to launch this technology and some of the firm’s FAQ, the firm tipped the public concerning its potential use of patent filings. The filings give information on how the systems can detect when the client takes an item from the shelves. The system is also developed to detect when a client returns them back to the shelf if they are not interested. This technology uses the RFID technology to sense these exchanges (“Amazon Go: How the Technology Works and What It Means for Retail”). However, Amazon has disputed this claim and argued that the system is not using the RFID technology as people claim. Despite this tag of war between the firm and the speculators, the store uses a logging system whereby the user goes to the grocery picking items as they are instantly recorded in a system. Once a customer has left the transition area that separates a shopper from other people, their respective amounts are deducted from the Amazon account.

The system also uses sensor fusion to enhance its accuracy and as a result, increase its reliability. This technology has never been used and thus a greater need to ensure that extreme care and analysis is done. Sensor fusion brings different data together and combines it to predict a certain aspect. For instance, the sensor fusion is responsible for identifying items picked from the shelves and relates them to the location of the inventory. The sensor fusion identifies the item picked by image, location, weight, pressure and the load. After collecting this information, the system carries out an analysis to identify the product. The importance of collecting this wide range of information is to ensure that a higher score for the collected. This score shows how high the probability of a particular item is. Even though the systems and the application were designed two years ago, there is a high chance that some of the operations have changed over time. However, the current operation of the system shows that filings are responsible for the greater part of its operations (Loria, 3).

Very few people believed four years ago that one could enter into a grocery store, pick whatever items they want and leave. However, the computer vision inventors had a different mentality that this system was prime, in fact, they made it a reality. All one is needed to do is to use an Amazon Go application to enter the store and start your shopping. Take a mango, and the virtual cart will update. When you change your mind from a mango to a cupcake, the system automatically records the cupcake and deducts the mango. Computer vision, learning algorithms, and the sensor fusion have enabled all these operations.

Shopping revolution

The Amazon Go is a complete transformation of the retail industry since it simplifies, hastens and increases the efficiency of the stores. The uniqueness of the technology is based on the following features;

History purchase

Once a client has shopped at Amazon Go, the inventory management system stores that information in the system. The inventory system does not have the capability of relating one item to the other but rather can remind the shopper about a particular item. For instance, if you purchase a diaper, the system will remind the shopper about the diaper once they return to the shops. This reduces chances of forgetting to purchase items that a shopper buys frequently. The same information is used to remind the shopper that they have purchased an item twice. Since there are no checkpoints, a shopper may purchase an item more than ones. This inventory system ensures that such mistaken is avoid. Besides, the whole system’s idea is to reduce the amount of time spent in the grocery stores.

Reduced Time Wastage

Online shopping first solved the problem of wasting time in shopping. However, the need to browse before buying an item necessitates the use of retail shops. Customer considers physical browsing as the best way to acquire the best items from a store. Physically browsing is a time consuming process such that most people prefer online shopping to physical buying due to the amount of time spent in browsing and checking out. Well, Amazon Go solves all these problems. This technology is not different from the online shopping, in fact, Amazon Go is more reliable since you physically browse your items and have the advantage of using the items the same day. People prefer shopping in different ways since this is a personal experience. Therefore, enhancing the shopping experience through technological automation is simply bringing the future today.

Future of Grocery Shopping

A large number of analysts argue that Amazon Go is a clear indication that the grocery shopping is ripe for technological change. The consumers' behavior has drastically changed with the market demands, but the grocery industry has failed to cope with this change. However, the success of this industry shows that the reduction of friction during the purchase of grocery is no longer impossible. The grocery industry is a highly populated since almost every household must visit several times in a week. This frequency shows that friction in the retail shops can only be solved by reducing the amount of time spent in shopping. Amazon Go is the only solution to this problem. Despite the benefits and significances of every technology, there are always certain setbacks that limit its application. These challenges include both technical and strategic problems.

For instance, some people consider this technology as a copy cut invention from Walmart retailers only that Amazon perfected the idea to come up with the Amazon Go. Walmart attempted to apply this technology but failed since a client was required to carry out their shopping and calculate the cost later (Buyya, Rajkumar, Chee Shin Yeo, and Srikumar, 6-13). However, Amazon solved this problem by calculating the cost after every product is taken from the shelves. Therefore, this technology is dismissed on the basis that it will collapse just like the Walmart technology. The initial and maintenance cost is also very high. This discourages competition from other retailers, and hence Amazon Go lacks the benefits that go hand in hand with a competition.

Amazon Go does not require any cashiers and assistants as long as the system is operating efficiently. This means that those people formally employed by the firm are no longer needed since the store is self-operational. This creates unemployment and skills obsolescence among retailer workers. Those people who were employed as cashiers are forced to take other jobs such as inventory management and cleaning services. Even though the needs of the consumers are considered to have the largest intensity, employees are also important, and hence their welfare should also be considered. For instance, Amazon should consider applying this technology in phases. This would allow the employees to seek employment in other areas rather than stopping them at once.


In conclusion, retailer revolution brought by the Amazon Go has changed the way people carry out their shopping in grocery shops. Friction among shoppers lead to the development of the online shopping, but long queues limit the need to browse products during check out points physically. Luckily, Amazon Go attempts to close this market gap by creating a cashier less retailer whereby client's time and comfort are enhanced. Clients do not spend much time in the stores since their cost is calculated once they have picked items from the shelves. This technology is the future of grocery shopping. However, lack of competition limits the success of the technology since Amazon Go may be resistant to change or further develop of its operations. The government should permit other retailers to use this technology to encourage competition in the industry. The public should also be informed about the technology to avoid any misconceptions and misunderstandings in the market.

Works cited

“Amazon Go, deep learning, and a better retail experience.” VentureBeat, 12 Jan. 2017,

“Amazon Go: How the Technology Works and What It Means For Retail.” Purple, 20 Sept. 2017,

Bishop, Todd. “How ‘Amazon Go’ works: The technology behind the online retailer’s groundbreaking new grocery store.” GeekWire, 13 Jan. 2017,

Buyya, Rajkumar, Chee Shin Yeo, and Srikumar Venugopal. "Market-oriented cloud computing: Vision, hype, and reality for delivering it services as computing utilities." High-Performance Computing and Communications, 2008. HPCC'08. 10th IEEE International Conference on. Ieee, 2008.

Carroll, James. “Computer vision and deep learning technology at the heart of Amazon Go.” Vision Systems, 13 Jan. 2017,

Loria, Keith. “How Amazon Go will transform the grocery experience.” Retail Dive, 9 Jan. 2017.

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