Amazon has staked out a new venue for making retail super convenient: Corner stores.
The e-commerce technology company announced on Monday a new Seattle location, Amazon Go, that has no registers. Instead, shoppers scan into the store with their free Amazon Go app, shop as normal, and leave the store with the items billed to their Amazon.com account.
While some stores have used a wedding-registry technique to allow this kind of shopping, Amazon takes it one step further. Using computer vision — the kind of technology that lets self-driving cars "see" — the store recognizes the user, making it unnecessary to individually scan items.
According to the Seattle Times, the 1,800 square-foot store, featuring ready-to-eat meals and snacks, is open to Amazon employees participating in a testing program. The store will open to the public in early 2017.
The location would be one of many experiments that Amazon has done at the nexus of e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retail, including a network of bookstores and pop-up shops and the Amazon Dash Button.
It also underscores Amazon's hefty investments in artificial intelligence, which CEO Jeff Bezos called a "gigantic" opportunity earlier this year at Recode's Code Conference. Amazon has more than 1,000 workers on its Alexa project, which leverages artificial intelligence, Bezos said at the conference.