Monday, 17 December, 2018

Amazon Tests Its Cashierless Technology for Bigger Stores

Shopping at the Amazon Go store in San Francisco The Amazon Go system may come to larger stores. James Martin CNET
Rhonda Young | 03 December, 2018, 18:52

Amazon now has more than a half-dozen Amazon Go stores open or set to open in three cities - Seattle, Chicago and San Francisco - but they are much smaller than traditional grocery stores.

While Amazon Go is more of a convenience store, with limited groceries and prepared foods, the intention is to apply the technology to Whole Foods, according to WSJ's sources.

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There are nearly 500 Whole Foods in the USA, although the chain does also have a small United Kingdom presence, with seven stores, all of which are in London. The company plans to build more of these small stores, according to one of the people familiar with the matter.

Higher ceilings and shelves, and a bigger product range means it could take more time for Amazon to get the technology right, which now works well for smaller stores.

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Amazon did not immediately reply to a request seeking comment. Amazon Go stores tend to be between 1,200 and 2,300 square feet in size. Whole Foods, which Amazon acquired for roughly $13.5 billion in 2017, has since added grocery pickups and one-hour delivery. It is not known where or when it will be opening its first United Kingdom cashierless store.

"They need to be careful not to break what has made that business successful in the first place", said Dennis Keim, a 65-year-old retiree from Lincoln, Neb., who shops at Whole Foods at least once a week. When you've finished choosing your items, leave the store and you're be charged for what you've taken. In late September it was reported that Amazon is considering opening up to 3,000 Amazon Go locations by 2021. How would it handle the varying qualities of fresh produce, or track frozen foods hidden behind glass?

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Canada's governor general and former astronaut Julie Payette is expected to be among the dignitaries to watch Monday's launch. The crew was reporting that all was going well in the critical initial minutes after liftoff and were safely in orbit.

The Amazon Go concept may be getting ready to go bigger.

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