Recently, we were watching The First on Hulu and saw a character in the show walk into a store, pick up bed sheets, quickly checkout herself by scanning the item with her wrist-worn device, and walk out. It reminded us of Amazon Go, and it made us wish the future is now.
Thankfully, it looks like we’ll only have to wait a few more years for this to be our reality. Amazon reportedly plans to open roughly 3,000 of its cashier-less Amazon Go convenience stores by 2021, according to Bloomberg. That’s an insane expansion and an aggressive move into physical retail, especially at a time when most brick-and-mortar shops are struggling to keep up with online rivals.
The move does make sense for Amazon, though, considering its purchase of Whole Foods in 2016. It would help the company to better compete with grocery store and convenience chains, from Kroger to 7-Eleven, and even big-box retailers like Walmart and Target. Keep in mind the first Amazon Go store opened in Seattle in late 2016, and the second one opened just last month in Seattle again.
A third one also opened in Chicago earlier this week, and more stores are planned for Chicago and San Francisco in 2019, according to recent job listings. But don’t think Walmart is shaking in its boots just yet; that retailer is reportedly developing similar cashier-less technology.
If anything, it’s the millions of retail employees that should be worried.