Amazon may be prepping its first checkout-free store overseas

Amazon has already opened four of its cashier-free grocery stores in the U.S., with more on the way.

Now the company is reportedly looking to open its first Amazon Go overseas in what could mark the beginning of a major expansion of the revolutionary new shopping experience.

According to a report in The Times over the weekend, the Seattle, Washington-based company is making moves to acquire multiple retail sites in the U.K. for Amazon Go stores. Doing away with checkouts, the store uses computer-vision technology to monitor selections, automatically charging a shopper’s account as they walk out of the door.

The Times’ sources said Amazon is interested in sites of around 5,000 square feet (about 465 square meters), almost three time larger than the first Amazon Go that opened in Seattle in January, 2018.

The company currently has three Amazon Go stores in Seattle and one in Chicago, and is known to be prepping launches in New York City and San Francisco. Recent reports suggest Amazon is looking to open as many as 3,000 Go stores across the U.S. by 2021, challenging a market that includes convenience chains and quick-service food stores, as well as small independent eateries.

The Times report offers no indication of when the Amazon Go stores might open in the U.K., or indeed where, though London would be the obvious launchpad location. Amazon has yet to make any public announcement about taking its cashless store overseas.

Competition

Amazon’s “grab and go” store already has competition, with San Francisco-based startup Zippin recently opening a similar kind of store in the Bay Area that also uses product-tracking technology that could be marketed to other retailers.

“Consumer frustration with checkout lines is driving a tidal wave of demand among retailers and real estate owners keen to provide a frictionless retail experience,” Zippin CEO Krishna Motukuri said recently. “With annual sales of grocery stores, convenience stores, and quick-serve restaurants totaling nearly $1.6 trillion in the U.S. alone, we believe there is a sizable market opportunity for us to pursue.”

With interest growing in the line-eliminating technology, Amazon may want to speed up the rollout of its Go stores in a bid to firmly establish its position in the space and beat down the competition. Expansion of its cashier-free stores to new markets overseas now looks to be part of its growth strategy.

If you want to know what it’s like to shop at an Amazon Go but can’t get to one yourself, then read all about Digital Trends’ experience at the first store to open in Seattle at the start of 2018.

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