Is Amazon planning to take its cashier-free technology to much larger stores?

Amazon may be looking to take its cashier-free stores to the next level by incorporating the technology into much larger brick-and-mortar locations, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Amazon Go currently operates at seven sites across the U.S. The high-tech store uses an array of sensors, cameras, and artificial intelligence technology to tracks customers, allowing them to grab their items and go, with the final cost automatically charged to their accounts.

The current locations, however, are more like convenience stores, operating as they do in relatively small spaces — each one covers around 3,500 square feet — and offering a limited range of items.

People claiming to have knowledge of Amazon’s plan said the company is currently testing its technology in a larger setup formatted like a big store. Taking the platform to a larger location that stocks a broader range of products presents a number of challenges, the sources said, so it may take some time to adapt Amazon’s current technology.

The report suggests that the long-term goal is to transform Whole Foods stores into cashier-free grocery stores, though it should be noted that Amazon, which acquired Whole Foods for $13.7 billion in 2017, has said in the past that such a move was not on its roadmap. However, advances in technology and revisited strategies could change that outlook.

Expanding the size of its Go stores, and possibly taking the technology to its Whole Foods outlets, would seem like a natural step for Amazon, and even more so when you consider that other companies, which recent reports suggest may include Microsoft and Walmart, are looking to introduce similar technology into brick-and-mortar stores.

Amazon Go launched in early 2018 and currently has three stores in Seattle, three in Chicago, and one in San Francisco.

Shopping at the store requires a quick scan of your Amazon Go app as you enter. The technology then tracks what you put into your bag as you make your way around. It even knows when you take an item out of your bag and put it back on the shelf, should you change your mind as you shop. When you leave the store, the total cost of your items is automatically charged to the credit card connected to your Amazon account.

To find out exactly what it’s like to shop at a cashier-free Amazon Go store, check out what happened when Digital Trends visited the very first one soon after it opened in Seattle in January.


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