Amazon is trialling a new type of queue-busting physical store where users scan their phone on their way in, and purchases are automatically charged to their account.
The firm confirmed it is working on the Amazon Go concept, which is designed to minimise queuing time for customers. The first store, which is currently only open to company employees, is in Seattle. It will be open to the public in 2017.
It has previously been reported that Amazon had filed a patent for the technology underpinning such a store, which has no cashiers.
The idea is that users who have downloaded the Amazon Go app will scan their smartphone on the way into the store. In-store sensors detect when they pick up a product and add it to their bill. If they change their mind and put a product back the system is supposed to be smart enough to take it off their bill.
When customers are finished they can leave the store without going to a point-of-sale for payment. The bill is added to their Amazon account.
The company called the system underpinning the experience its Just Walk Out technology.
The store sells a range of ready-to-eat food and groceries.
The concept keys into an area where others are already treading. PayPal, for instance, trialled a service in New York whereby users could walk in and collect a coffee in a café with payment taken in the background, thanks to their smartphone being detected on entering the premises.
In a related development, Starbucks is seeing growing use of its Mobile Order and Pay service in the US, where users purchase a beverage in advance on their smartphone and then go to the store solely for collection, speeding up workflow for the coffee giant.