Unveiled a while back, Amazon Go is the online retailer's vision of a futuristic brick-and-mortar store, one in which there are literally no cashiers.
People go in, grab whatever they want to buy, head out, and are automatically charged some moments afterward — Amazon has developed technology sophisticated enough to detect all the products a customer takes out from the store. This obviously has far-reaching potential, but it also threatens to disrupt the brick-and-mortar landscape even further by erasing cashiers from the equation, and that represents countless jobs across the country.
For them, there's new reason to panic. Amazon is apparently now testing its Go service in bigger stores. The company seems to be scaling up cashierless operations, according to a new report by The Wall Street Journal.
The company opened its first cashierless store in Seattle earlier this January, which was then followed by additional locations in the same city, plus ones in Chicago and San Francisco. The stores employ cameras and specialized software to determine what items customers are putting on their basket and charge them accordingly. The traditional checkout process doesn't apply inside Amazon Go stores, in other words — which is why it's such a threat to longstanding retail outposts.
Amazon Go Problems
Currently, Amazon Go stores are small. They're roughly the size of convenience stores, which means they're much smaller than the typical grocery outlet. Needless to say there are a smaller number of items to keep track of, and fewer people are accommodated at a time.
The concept sounds revolutionary, to be sure, but Amazon Go stores aren't without hiccups. In 2017, for instance, Amazon had to delay the rollout of additional locations because the stores kept breaking when there were more than 20 people inside.
However, according to The Wall Street Journal's report, Amazon has made adjustments to the software in those stores since they've opened. That being said, the technology still apparently encounters some trouble in "bigger spaces with higher ceilings and more products."
Amazon Go Is Going To Spread Out
Amazon is now testing the cashierless service in "a larger space formatted like a big store" and that the most likely implementation of that technology is for Whole Foods, according to the report. Amazon acquired the popular retail chain last year. It's worth noting, however, that Amazon said in the past that it doesn't plan on integrating its Go technology into Whole Foods stores.
Amazon has big plans for Go stores, according to reports. Apparently, the company is planning to open as many as 3,000 locations in just three to four years' time.