Amazon plans 3,000 high-tech shops

Jeannie Matthews
September 21, 2018

Amazon's cashier-free stores may be everywhere within three years.

Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) is considering a plan to open as many as 3,000 new Amazon Go cashierless stores in the next few years, Bloomberg reported here on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Amazon opened its first Amazon Go store in its hometown of Seattle in 2016.

Amazon opened its first cashierless store in Seattle two years ago (pictured) and has launched two additional locations in Seattle and another in Chicago. Though not giving a timetable or location details, Amazon also has confirmed plans to open Amazon Go outlets in San Francisco and New York City. Focusing on prepared foods rather than groceries could help boost profit margins, and some of the existing stores are already doing that.

The 2,000-square-foot Chicago location, which gets daily deliveries, offers packaged salads, snacks and sandwiches, according to CS News. Amazon has poured considerable resources into its grocery business in the past 15 months and bought the upmarket organic grocer Whole Foods for $13.7 billion last summer. That would include having about 10 Amazon Go stores by the end of 2018 and expanding to approximately 50 in key metropolitan markets next year, according to the report.

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What's more, Amazon has grown its advertising business 242 percent since 2017, eMarketer said. With 3,000 stores to its name, Amazon would stand to take a sizable bite of that pie. Amazon's other brick-and-mortar initiatives include about 20 bookstores around the U.S. and the natural grocery chain Whole Foods Market, acquired previous year.

You have to scan the Amazon Go app on your phone to enter the store.

"Amazon is fully aware that they have to be much bigger in consumables and that omnichannel is what's going to work in consumables". Narrowing the focus to prepared food-to-go would reduce the upfront cost of opening each store, because it would require fewer cameras and sensors. But it has pushed back on past reports that executives had given the green light to a major expansion of Go.

Amazon Go will be more of a threat to fast-casual restaurants if it is targeting cities, said Jeff Lenard, vice president of NACS. "It's too far away".

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