GOOD NEWS FOR anyone who wants the thrill of shoplifting without the store owner losing out, Amazon's checkout-free shops will soon be heading out of the USA. A report in The Times says that Bezos & Co have been eying up various sites in the UK that could be prime locations (pun regrettably intended) for the retail behemoth's Amazon Go outlets.
It's interesting that Amazon is looking outside of America so early in the Go story. Currently only four checkout-free stores exist in America, but clearly the company is happy enough with their progress that it sees the UK as a solid playground for further development.
In a sign of growing confidence, the company is said to only be looking at 5,000 square foot sites on British soil. Given the first store in the US was just 1,800 square feet, this feels significant.
Amazon Go, for those unaware, is a store without checkouts - not even those automatic ones that yell about unidentified items in baggage areas. Instead, you scan in on your smartphone when you enter the store, and then just take items off the shelf and walk out the store. Your phone will register your exit, and your card will be charged later. Here it is being demoed by some impossibly good-looking people buying healthy things, rather than a six-pack of Stella and a scratch card.
It's the kind of thing that would once have seen Jeff Bezos tried for witchcraft, in other words, but it seems to be working. There are already four stores in the US (three in Seattle, one in Chicago) with plans for 3,000 more over the next three years.
It seems a shame to take away checkouts when we Brits are very much global leaders in queueing, but think of all the time we'll save for other activities. Like applying for the handful of jobs not snaffled up by robots. µ
Oh and it'll also help give aural pleasure
But it might still not be enough to make virtual reality super appealing
And a ridiculous competition
Now you can talk to your silly-looking earbuds too