Amazon.com Inc. plans to open Amazon Go supermarkets and pop-up stores, an expansion of the company’s cashierless ambitions that includes the possibility of licensing the technology to other retailers.
The new store formats and licensing initiative could launch as soon as the first quarter of 2020, Bloomberg reportes, citing a person familiar with the project. Amazon is testing a supermarket equipped with Go technology in a 10,400-square-foot retail space in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.
The Go expansion is the e-commerce giant’s latest attempt to compete in the $900 billion U.S. grocery industry and perhaps other areas of retail, as well. The company already operates the Whole Foods Market chain and last week confirmed plans to launch a separate supermarket brand, starting with a location in the upscale Woodland Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles. Those stores will have human cashiers. The previously unreported plan to expand Go revives Amazon’s original vision of creating full-size grocery stores without checkout lines.
Amazon opened the first Go convenience store at its Seattle headquarters almost two years ago and now operates 21 locations around the U.S.
The Go stores are very convenient for customers, although their cost for Amazon is not low. The Go technology
includes a complicated array of cameras, backroom servers and software that figures out what shoppers have grabbed and automatically charges them when they exit.
The Go teams are also working on a sort of pop-up kiosk, a self-contained, miniature version of an Amazon Go, designed for faster setup than equipping leased retail space with all of Go’s hardware.