TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES

Amazon’s “store of the future” is getting pushed a bit further into the future

A beta version of Amazon’s cashier-less convenience store, opened to the company’s employees in December, has been functioning flawlessly–as long as there are fewer than 20 people in the store and those people are walking slowly.

Of course, asking actual customers to move in slow motion isn’t feasible, and Amazon will delay the store’s public opening due to technical difficulties, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Amazon’s futuristic store concept, called Amazon Go, uses cameras, sensors, and algorithms to track the products customers pick from shelves. Instead of paying at a register when they’re done shopping, customers simply leave the store. Amazon automatically charges their accounts for the items they take with them.

Go is one of several efforts Amazon has made to enter brick-and-mortar retail. Amazon’s fifth bookstore opened last week, and the company has also reportedly explored stores for groceries, furniture, electronics, and home appliances.

How technology will factor into the e-commerce company’s physical retail ambitions isn’t clear. Amazon may use augmented or virtual reality to show people how furniture and appliances would look in their homes, the New York Times reports. Its grocery stores may follow a “click and collect” trend used by others in the industry, in which customers shop online but pick up their packaged orders in person. And Amazon Go’s automated check-out process could change the way companies across the industry structure their stores. That is, once it actually works.

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