Amazon needs a smart 'data river' to make Go work
Amazon recently launched the first of its revolutionary storefront, Go. Relying on cameras, sensors and other systems to understand when shoppers pick up products and help them finalize purchases with a single “tap," Go combines the immediacy of in-store shopping with a high-tech experience.
But this kind of digital-driven storefront can leave a lot of room for error. To create a seamless shopping and payment experience, Amazon will need to ensure all the disparate systems are synced via smart technologies that keep everything connected and secure. While this sounds easy enough to implement, especially for a digital commerce juggernaut like Amazon, incorporating all these technologies into a physical store is an entirely new frontier for the company.
Success will depend on creating a cohesive “data river,” synchronizing information collected across weight sensors, GPS, payments systems and surveillance to ensure critical data efficiently flows between the necessary systems with minimal latency. Ultimately, this will allow Amazon, and the other retailers that are bound to follow in its footsteps , in an effort to:
Improve inventory processes and identify opportunities to increase buyer spend. A store like Amazon Go is looking to create a data-driven inventory strategy. Leveraging the weight sensors embedded within shelves, Amazon hopes to gain an understanding of popular items and proactively place orders before they run out of stock. Taking this a step further, this system can become even more valuable by connecting data from sensors that understand “hot items,” with the point-of-sale (POS) system. This will provide deeper insight into which products are commonly purchased together, creating an opportunity to improve upon store layouts and increase buyer spend.
Create seamless payments and personalized customer experiences. Without the right connecting technologies in place, the completely intuitive and smooth shopping experience can become fragmented, leaving customers waiting in line and causing bottlenecks for other shoppers. It will be important to have the right data systems that effectively track items people pick up (and put back down), connect this data to the POS system, and then register mobile payments with ease. Seamless payments (which have become an issue for retailers in the age of “mobile pay”) are a key aspect of Amazon Go’s success, and synchronized data flow will ensure all the critical product information reaches the necessary systems to achieve this.
Retailers can take this seamlessness to new levels by leveraging the insight gained from the payments system to build a real-time, 360-degree picture of each individual customer. As Amazon already knows, understanding historical and current shopping behaviors to proactively reward frequent shoppers, creates loyal customers. This type of personalization will help customers to feel connected to a brand and keep them coming back.
As stores look for new ways to intersect their digital and physical properties, Amazon Go is creating a new path that brings the two together. New inventions, however, bring new challenges, and the success of this store concept will depend on the synchronization of every piece of data to provide entirely seamless shopping and purchasing.