by Will Schreiber

Just Walk Out

When I got off the train and walked into the main terminal at Ogilvie Center, there was an Amazon Go right at the corner.

I had to try it.

So I hopped on their free wifi, downloaded the Amazon Go app, scanned my barcode, walked in.

The app would tell me later that I spent 2 minutes and 49 seconds in the store.

The products inside were interesting. There were two rows of potato chips, apples, and dried fruit. There was a refrigerator of drinks. But otherwise, everything inside was either prepared food or was a meal kit.

I snagged a Whole Foods 365 bottled water.

And then I walked out.

There is a sense of freedom as you move about the store, which is interesting considering you know each step you take is being tracked by cameras and sensors and algorithms.

It absolutely feels frictionless.

Some observations:

  • Almost everybody stopped at the gates before exiting, and the Go employee at the front had to reassure them, “No, it’s okay, you can just walk out.”
  • There were microwaves and plastic utensils at the front. Like a Japanese 7/11.
  • Everything is strictly “Grab And Go”
  • They had full meals ready to heat, just like the kind most of our clients on Bottle sell DTC.
  • They had meal kits.
  • The foot traffic in front of this store, considering its location right in front of all the Metra tracks, is insane.
  • Seeing people across the hallway standing in line waiting to pay for their Pret A Manger sandwiches felt like you were looking back in time.
Amazon Go
Prepared food
My purchase