Amazon Officially Eliminates Cashiers…And Other Small Business Tech News This Week

SEATTLE, WA – JANUARY 22: Shopper Ela Ustel walks through the Amazon Go store, on January 22, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. After more than a year in beta Amazon opened the cashier-less store to the public. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 — Amazon Go cashier-less convenience store opens to the public in Seattle.

This week in Seattle, Amazon opened its cashier-less convenience store to the general public. At Amazon Go, customers scan their smartphone on the way in and are then tracked with cameras and other sensors as they browse. Later, when they take an item off the shelf, it’s added to a virtual cart, and groceries are charged to the customer’s Amazon account when they leave. (Source: Seattle Times)

Why this is important for your business:

Do you own a grocery store? You better pay attention. Same for you, merchants.  As consumers get more and more used to self-service automated stores you’re going to need to respond. But don’t fire your employees yet – people still enjoy engaging with humans, so maybe you can figure out a balance between technology and human interaction.

2 — Voice shopping is taking over the world, literally.

A new survey shows that consumers worldwide are migrating to voice shopping. Based on the results of conversations with 5,000 consumers in the U.S., France, and Germany, the survey found 40% of consumers plan to use voice assistants as a substitute for apps or mobile sites within the next 3 years, 81% have already tried voice assistants via their smartphones, and about 32% have tried them with a smart speaker. (Source: PYMNTS.com)

Why this is important for your business:

Millions of people are getting voice activated assistants (including me!) and the technology is, in my opinion, the killer app of 2018-2019.  Amazon is already working on business software for the Alexa and more will be coming.

3 — Business booms for privacy experts as a landmark data law looms.

Business is booming for software and privacy experts as companies around the world spend millions of dollars to comply with Europe’s new General Data Protection Regulation which goes into effect in May. The law is intended to give European citizens more control over their online information and applies to all companies that do business with Europeans.  (Source: Reuters)

Why this is important for your business:

If your company does business with European customers then make sure you’re in compliance with this new regulation. Or…if you’re looking for a new business to start, this seems like a growing field!

4 — Fabio the robot sacked from a supermarket after alarming customers.

Britain’s first cyborg shop assistant was sacked after a week-long experiment at Scottish supermarket chain Margiotta. The robot, nicknamed Fabio, was programmed to give directions to hundreds of items in the company’s flagship Edinburgh store and initially charmed customers with his friendly greeting, jokes, and offers of hugs. But, within a few days, he was demoted for giving ‘unhelpful advice’. (Source: The Telegraph)

Why this is important for your business:

See the story on Amazon Go above.  There’s a role for technology – even robots – in businesses, but people will always want to engage with people.

5 – Windows 10 can now show you all the data it’s sending back to Microsoft.

Windows 10 users will soon be able to install a new program from the Microsoft Store called the “Windows Diagnostic Data Viewer,” which gives them full access to all the diagnostic data from their Windows device. The idea is to enable users to see “that next layer of transparency from Microsoft” and allow them to verify that the company is doing what its documentation says. (Source: Tech Crunch)

Why this is important for your business:

This is a major step taking by a huge company and other huge companies are soon to follow. Getting a better understanding of the data we’re unknowingly sharing with the world will create more transparency and help us control our privacy.  I hope.

Gene Marks owns The Marks Group, a 10-person technology consulting firm and is also a small business expert, speaker and columnist at other major outlets.

[“Source-forbes”]