Amazon is looking to open up to half a dozen more Amazon Go stores over the course of this year, Recode reports, citing people familiar with the company's plans. The Washington-based e-commerce giant has been trialing the concept of a fully automated, cashier-free store for over a year now, having publicly opened the first such brick-and-mortar location in Seattle late last month. Despite some skepticism regarding the overall security of its solution and concerns about the long-term implications such stores have for the job market, the debut Amazon Go store is understood to already be a popular shopping destination in the firm's hometown.
While insiders claim Amazon is expected to open up to three additional stores in Seattle, they are also fairly confident Los Angeles won't have to wait long for its first fully automated shop. The tech giant is said to have discussed such a plan with real estate mogul Rick Caruso, having specifically talked about opening an Amazon Go location at The Groove, a famous shopping mall in downtown L.A. The firm has been developing its automated shopping solution for three years before making it available to its own employees in early 2017, a year before its public debut. The current version of the technology allows for a store equipped with a broad range of cameras and sensors tracking not just every individual item and its position but also the shoppers browsing it. To enter an Amazon Go location, one must open a dedicated mobile app on their Android or iOS smartphone which is scanned at the entrance, so long as their Amazon account is linked to a valid credit or debit card. The system then tracks everything a customer picks off the shelves but only charges them for the items they bring out of the store, with the company also allowing shoppers to bring friends and family members with them even if their entourage doesn't have an Amazon account.
Walmart is also presently expanding its cashier-less shopping solutions and may introduce its direct answer to Amazon Go in the near future. It's presently unclear whether Amazon is intending to implement such a technology into its Whole Foods stores, though many industry watchers deem that a likely scenario.