WASHINGTON: Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos said Thursday he sees a bright future in the company’s cashierless retail stores and that many consumers see the experience as “magical.”
In his annual letter to shareholders, Bezos was upbeat about the prospects for Amazon Go, the stores where customers use an app to check out, with purchases scanned in the store and billed electronically to eliminate the need for cashiers.
“For many years, we considered how we might serve customers in physical stores, but felt we needed first to invent something that would really delight customers in that environment,” he wrote.
“No one likes to wait in line. Instead, we imagined a store where you could walk in, pick up what you wanted, and leave.”
Bezos said the implementation was complex, with specially designed cameras and shelves and new computer vision algorithms.
“The reward has been the response from customers, who’ve described the experience of shopping at Amazon Go as ‘magical,'” he said.
“We now have 10 stores in Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle, and are excited about the future.”
The letter made no mention of concerns raised by some activists that cashierless and cashless stores could shut out people lacking smartphones and bank accounts.
Bezos separately challenged other retailers to match Amazon’s move for a minimum wage of $15 an hour announced last year.
“We had always offered competitive wages. But we decided it was time to lead — to offer wages that went beyond competitive,” Bezos said in his letter.
“Today I challenge our top retail competitors (you know who you are!) to match our employee benefits and our $15 minimum wage. Do it! Better yet, go to $16 and throw the gauntlet back at us. It’s a kind of competition that will benefit everyone.” —AFP