Amazon Go technology is being tested in a 10,400-square-foot space in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, a source told Bloomberg.
The eCommerce giant launched the first Go convenience store in Seattle in 2017 and now has 21 U.S. locations. The expansion efforts could make Amazon a serious player in the $900 billion U.S. grocery industry. The company already operates the Whole Foods Market chain.
An Amazon Go grocery store initiative has been underway since 2012, and some $1 billion in salaries have gone to people working on the project, the source said.
The technology for Go had been comprised of complicated cameras and software that automatically charged shoppers as they exited the store with merchandise. The Go team is now part of Physical Retail Technologies, a new entity that worked for the past two years on improving the efficiency and profitability of the tech so other retailers would want in, the source told Bloomberg.
The latest hardware revisions have improved cameras and software and fewer backroom servers, which has reduced the overhead of setting up a new store, the source said.
The Amazon Go concept was originally launched with big supermarkets in mind but was dropped in favor of smaller convenience stores featuring grab-and-go staples. Now the technology is planned to accommodate 30,000-square-foot stores.
The pop-up kiosks are planned as miniature versions of the current Amazon Go stores and could be part of malls and sports stadiums, the source told Bloomberg.
“The big question isn’t will the tech work — Amazon will make it work,” said Forrester Research’s Brendan Witcher.
Amazon opened a cashierless store in May in New York City’s Brookfield Place office complex. A second location followed in June in Midtown Manhattan. The first Amazon Go opened last January at the online retailer’s Seattle headquarters.