How Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods affects the data battleground

Why would Amazon, one of the biggest tech companies in the world, spend $13.4 billion to acquire Whole Foods, a grocery chain?

Some analysts believe this is Bezos’ response to Walmart’s inroads into online retail. But I think the bigger picture is about data, the new oil, the new gold, the subject of a not-so-secret battle between the leading tech companies (Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon). Continue reading

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Redefining the DNA of the shopping experience—or trying to

People walk by the Amazon Go brick-and-mortar grocery store without lines or checkout counters, in Seattle Washington, U.S. December 5, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Redmond – RTSUU23

By Alan O’Herlihy, Everseen

It’s easy to point to Amazon’s lack of experience in brick-and-mortar retail as an explanation for the difficulties it’s facing as it tries to launch Amazon Go. Retail is not for the faint of heart, so entering the space and trying to transform it seemingly overnight has inevitably resulted in some skepticism—and even a little bit of schadenfreude when the company missed its self-imposed, and highly publicized, launch date.

But the same can be said of many of the industries that Amazon has reinvented. Amazon had no business getting into books, video content, clothing, warehousing and delivery, etc. And yet it continues to redefine all of these, much to the dismay of early skeptics (not to mention, the businesses it has upended). Continue reading

Are we ready for fully automated retail?

People walk by the Amazon Go brick-and-mortar grocery store without lines or checkout counters, in Seattle Washington, U.S. December 5, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Redmond - RTSUU23

People walk by the Amazon Go brick-and-mortar grocery store without lines or checkout counters, in Seattle Washington, U.S. December 5, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Redmond – RTSUU23

Amazon recently announced Go, the technology that will make checkout lines and cash registers a thing of the past. Go will purportedly enable customers to walk into the store, pick up the items they need and just walk out, something that presently amounts to shoplifting.

The company uses computer vision, deep learning algorithms and sensor fusion to perform complicated tasks that were previously in the exclusive domain of human brain and senses. Continue reading