Amazon's cashier-free stores may be everywhere within three years.
Amazon's first such store was positioned as a regular grocery store with limited inventory.
By the end of 2021 more than 3,000 Amazon Go convenience stores could be open across the USA providing cashier-less shopping to millions of Americans.
Industry analysts note that Amazon is increasingly embracing an omnichannel strategy for its retail business and, on the food side of the equation, would likely seek more physical stores to compete with the brick-and-mortar presence of leading grocery retailers like Walmart, Kroger, Albertsons Cos., Target and Costco. That seems overly optimistic even for Amazon, especially when you consider each store requires roughly $1 million worth of hardware in order to function, then you have to secure the retail space, hire and train the staff to work there, and ensure the supply chain is setup to keep the shelves stocked. Reports in the a year ago about Amazon's plans have rattled incumbent players in a wide range of industries, including groceries, pharmacies and specialty office suppliers.
The surge in Amazon's advertising business is due, in part, to more people searching from the e-commerce site directly, instead of going through Google's search engine. An Amazon spokeswoman declined to comment.
Amazon now operates four such stores, three in Seattle and one in Chicago, and these are being used as trial-runs for a larger scale expansion of the business.
Citing unnamed sources, Bloomberg said yesterday that Seattle-based Amazon is mulling plans to open as many as 3,000 Amazon Go locations by 2021. For comparison, there are close to 67,000 7-Eleven locations around the globe.
Amazon has become the world's largest online retailer by offering a vast selection and quick, convenient delivery.
Shares of USA supermarket chains Kroger Co (KR.N) and Target Corp (TGT.N) fell between 1 and 2 percent following the news.
The $940 billion company, whose main businesses... Amazon also operates or plans to open 18 bookstores, as well as a range of smaller pop-up stores in malls and Kohl's locations. Two more are planned. But it has pushed back on past reports that executives had given the green light to a major expansion of Go.
An Amazon spokesperson said "we don't comment on rumors or speculation", in response to GeekWire's inquiry.
The e-tail giant now has four Amazon Go stores: three in Seattle and one in Chicago, which opened on Monday.
The idea is to open up stores in dense urban areas with large populations of young, well-to-do folks who are happy to pay a premium for high-quality meals on the go. There is no checkout and no printed receipt, but customers must have a smartphone app to shop in the stores.
AmazonGo outlets each use hundreds of cameras and sensors to detect what customers take off shelves and bill their credit card accounts.
In late 2016, stories spread that Amazon was planning to build 2,000 grocery stores.