133: Seamless Commerce Is Amazon Go
Amazon Go is an example of Seamless Commerce
Transcript: Amazon Go Is Seamless Commerce
So what’s the big news of the day? we’ll you’ve probably seen the latest video flying around the Internet about Amazon Go like what is this thing about with Go. Now you’ve got Laura Croft go video games you know pokémon go video games everything going to have go on the end here is everything and it just like any like smaller faster tighter cooler versions of things are just going to add go away. I mean what’s next. It is just go to anything to make it sound cool or how about Citibank or Wal-Mart go anyway so. The Amazon Go video if you haven’t seen it yet is about a concept that actually I talked about three years ago called seamless commerce Now that’s my name for it. They don’t call it seamless commerce. But basically what I saw in that video is exactly what I came up with three years ago and I’m not saying I was the first one to do it. There’s probably lots of other. People coming up with similar concepts which is one of the reasons why I was on as is actually having it happen today. The basically the concept is this. I mean any time that you’ve gone anywhere where you’re actually shopping. A retail location whether it’s going to a restaurant or going to a mall or Black Friday or whatever or any type of situation where you’re not actually doing online shopping you’re doing in person shopping. It’s a pain right. It’s a pain you walk into these places you walk around the place looking for the thing that you’re looking for you pick things up you put things down. You can’t seem to find this or that you wander around the place until you finally get a basket full of stuff. And then you go to the front of the store and what is there an incredibly long line of people trying to check out of the store. So you already have your basket stuff and all you want to do is leave right. So you wait in your line you get to the checkout you get a cashier scanning things it could be mistakes it could be this it could be that anyways it takes forever. The retail experience. Takes forever. So I came up with this concept called seamless commerce it’s part of my whole concept of a seamless world where technology literally disappears into the background. And basically does things for us without us asking for them to happen based on what it thinks we want to happen and seamless commerce is simply one branch of it. Now I’ll describe seamless commerce We’ll talk a little bit about how Amazon go works and how it’s sort of a subset of seamless commerce of the way seamless commerce works is that. You walk into a store you take a shopping bag or you take a shopping cart or whatever. You take the products as you walk around the store you look for the products that. You want and you can use a device such as your smartphone to help you direct you to where the products are you do a search on your device your device tells you the products are you put the product in your cart or you put your product in the bag where you put your bragging that you can hold your product. And then as you walk out of the store the moment you walk out of the store with that product it charges your credit card. Completely seamless he walk in you pick stuff up. You walk out very similar to what you see in Amazon go in Amazon go. You walk in as you walk in you scan your phone. I’m assuming you scan your phone or two for the systems to determine that it is you coming in to the store. So it does some kind of facial recognition confirms who you are and then as you walk around you pick things up you put things down. Apparently some kind of sophisticated computer vision and light are in other types of sensors to determine which products you picked up which products you carry with you. And then as you walk out of the store. You don’t have to check out because it knows what you’re carrying with you and will automatically scan and charge you for everything that you have in your bag or your card or whatever you have to be taking out of the store with you. So that part’s very similar to what I’ve talked about the most commerce. Now the difference is is that if you don’t have to check in there is no check in requirement it can all magically detect who you are as you walk in through two indoor scanners now the technical details of building this are not really very difficult. You just have to have objects with with scannable tags on them. So every product in the store has a scannable tag. And the scannable tag has to be in proximity of an app on your smartphone which can detect its presence within a certain distance. So the way it would work is as you walk into the store it will trigger an app on your phone which says OK Anything that I bring with me which is in a certain distance of. Way for me in traveling at the same speed. I am. Is assume that I have on my person so I go over to buy jar past us I pick up the past and I’m holding on to the past as I walk around the store. There’s this. Tag on the jar past or it could detect expressed similar to my smartphone and it can tell. Oh this jar of past is traveling with me past. Mr have passed the sauce is traveling with me as I walk around the store. Then I walk over to spaghetti I pick up two boxes of spaghetti. I have two bucks of spaghetti have a jar pass a sauce they all. All three of these objects have scanned have tags on them. They’re all in proximity of my smartphone. So my smartphone knows that I’m carrying these objects with me and he could even show me and my app that I’m carrying these objects with me in the total price of these objects as I walk out of the store the smartphone communicates the door scanner saying Hey Chris how this has these products with him and they cost. I don’t know. Let’s say ten dollars ten dollars or charge to my wallet and I can leave. So it’s basically very very similar to what’s on Amazon go. Yes I predicted this stuff three years three or so years ago. And so obviously being worked on for a really long time now the thing is it’s very interesting about this is that even though what it does is it allows you to have the same type of retail experience but better. It’s still not the best we still experience right because you still have to wander around the store. Picking up. Product trying to find where that product is and put it in your cart and walk out right. So for it’s really good browse and buy experience it’s OK but that’s not really what we do anymore I mean it’s one of the experiences we may elect to have but I think what we do is you prefer to shop at least know what we want prior. To coming into the store. Right. So we’ve already made the preferences that we’ve already made our preferences known to the system. Prior to coming in the store. So why isn’t everything already there. So give an example. It’s interesting way back when before my time in there used to be the shops catalog stores they were called. Sears was the biggest one in the U.S. there was a number them in Canada where I grew up. It’s consumers describe it as distributing save it. Shop right. So basically the way they worked is that they sent you a catalog in the mail. And you read through the catalog and you determine what you wanted and there was an order form in the back and what you could do is you could either mail in that order form and they would mail you the product kind of like what happens today except online and faster or you could take your catalog with the order form to a distribution point it was a little store and it wasn’t really a store it was more like a warehouse where you would walk up to the counter. And if you had your form you could give them a form. And if you didn’t have a form you could sit there by the side of there’s a little table you could filth fill out the form it’s kind of like those places in the airport where you can fill out your customs forms. They had catalogs there you flip through the catalogs you pick up what you do you pick out what you want you complete the form then you turn around you give it to the guy at the counter the guy goes. Take your form goes into the back. Picks up your product. Brings it back to you. You pay for it and you take it away. Now this is these are catalog stores that they were around. I don’t know from the fifty’s to maybe the seventies eighties or something like that early eighty’s seventies and then they shut down because nobody wanted to go to them anymore. But if you think about it if you asked me. Now the time is ripe for the rich. Turn of the catalog store fronted by online. So this is the way it would work. You basically go online you purchase what you want to purchase and then you say I’m going to pick it up at the store X. which is nearby me it’s just like this Consumers Distributing Depot you walk in there. You scan your phone and your order is already picked you just pick it up and walk out a bit like the way curbside works of target but if you think about it. Take this model to its logical extension. Why do you even need to have a retail location where people can walk around and browse You don’t even need that you just need a place for people to pick up their product and go. So that’s right folks. The catalog store will return. And if you ask me. Amazon is the best placed to be able to provide this sort of catalog store now I mean they’re doing something like it with the boxes where you can have boxes delivered to the lockers that are local lockers some things like that it’s totally unmanned but there’s no reason why they can’t have larger locker style spaces manned or unmanned maybe automated where there is basically a warehouse of the back and it. They have robots doing the picking and it comes in and pulls to your box together and then has it sitting there waiting for you as you walk and get it. I’ve always said that the most powerful retail model is a combination of online and offline models. It’s the online model gives you the ultimate in selection. And the offline model gives you the ultimate in convenience. Because the problem is nowadays if we want something now we have to go to the store and buy it. And if we go to the store and buy it. We have to walk around the store. We have to figure out where the story. It is we have to figure out of the story even has it in stock. And it’s a little bit better now because you can look it up on these retail websites online figure out of the things in stock go down to the store pick the thing up and leave when it be in but then the store itself has built this huge location with the overhead of having aisles and stock as people you don’t even need that anymore. We need a new online-offline which is buy it online pick it up at the warehouse and it’s a local warehouse nearby you can swing by on your way home from work and pick up the thing that you always wanted the ultimate combination of selection and convenience. If you ask me that is the future of seamless commerce and it’s coming right around the corner. I would be surprised if Amazon has already figured it out. I would be surprised if Amazon is already thinking about doing this but if you think about it. The Amazon go thing that they showed it looks great on video. This other model where you buy stuff on line to pick it up in warehouses not so compelling. But you know hell of a lot more useful. That’s it for me for today. See you next time. And until then don’t forget to think future or.