We went to Amazon Go and to be honest with you, it was pretty sweet. And not just because we bought a cupcake.
Amazon Go has been touted as a first-of-its-kind environment where online retail and brick-and-mortar interact in beautiful harmony. With the flurry of articles, reviews, and videos circulating over the weekend, we were more than a little curious to see what this latest blend of cutting-edge tech and retail looked like in person. So, we went there for lunch.
A modest line protruded from the unassuming front of the experimental retail space as we walked up. Amazon Go greeters were scattered about, offering branded tote bags and the chance to answer any burning questions you may have.
“Do you have the app?” was a question they floated to all those who approached.
To enter, you must scan the barcode on your app and a green light on the turnstile lights up featuring the word “go” — pretty clever. From there, it’s like any other convenience store, albeit with more people taking pictures and options including pre-made meals, fresh meats, liquor, and Amazon Go exclusive merchandise.
We wanted the full experience, so we snagged a cupcake and walked out. A receipt popped up on our phone minutes later with the purchase and the amount of time we spent in the store. A marketer’s dream come true.
The question becomes: will this kind of technology replace authentic, face-to-face interaction? Technically, it already has to a small degree. It will certainly be interesting to see how the Amazon Go model scales to larger physical retail environments.
The more experiential question is: how can this technology help us read attendee behavior on the trade show floor, at our event, or in any other environment — relaying back to us what visitors interacted with and for how long without taking away from the experience?
One thing is for certain, the blend of retail and technology has an exciting future ahead of it. (Especially if there are cupcakes involved.)
To read more on our thoughts on how to successfully blend the online and experiential worlds, snag The Social Symphony to begin your digital transformation.