Amazon Go to Launch More Cashierless Stores in 2020

The retail giant also has plans for a new supermarket and potential licensing deals.

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Need to Know

  • Amazon is preparing to expand once more by opening Amazon Go supermarkets and pop-up convenience stores.
  • The e-commerce giant’s supermarket brand will be different from the Whole Foods Market chain, which Amazon purchased two years ago.
  • Beyond traditional supermarkets, Amazon Go teams are also working on pop-up kiosks that would operate in malls and sports stadiums.
  • Amazon is also exploring licensing opportunities which could include deals with airports, movie theatres, and more, launching as early as 2020.

Analysis

Amazon is continuing to expand its massive reach with the addition of more cashierless stores, which will now feature convenience stores, supermarkets, and pop-up kiosks. This expansion also includes the possibility of licensing the technology to other retailers, all of which could launch as early as next year.

The Amazon Go convenience stores first launched two years ago in Seattle and 21 locations now operate across the US. Praised by customers as “technical marvels”, analysts have wondered if the low margins at a typical corner store would offset the costs accrued by the complex arrangement of cameras and software required to operate as a cashierless entity. 

After spending nearly two years streamlining the technology, newer versions of the Go stores include fewer backroom servers and more efficient cameras and networking capabilities, which has substantially offset new store costs. The Amazon Go team now plans to realize its original vision of creating full-size grocery stores without checkout lines.

While the e-commerce brand already purchased the popular Whole Foods Market chain in 2017, these plans will see Amazon launch an entirely separate supermarket brand, declaring their place among the competition in the $900 billion US grocery industry. This means they’ll be taking on stores as large 30,000 square feet, compared to the current 2,000 square footage of most Go convenience stores. In comparison, Whole Foods locations average around 40,000 square feet.

Amazon is also reportedly exploring the possibility of licensing the Go technology, meaning customers could experience cashierless, grab-and-go service in other public places such as movie theatres and sports stadiums. 

While there is no confirmed licensing model as of now, deals could include an up-front fee or a percentage of sales in exchange for the use of Go technology in-store, adding one more element to the mix of the next decade’s great retail experiment. 

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