Amazon’s much-heralded convenience store of the future, Amazon Go, may seem like a crazy experiment. But the company plans to open as many as six more of these storefronts this year, multiple people familiar with the company’s plans have told Recode.
Some of the new high-tech stores are likely to open in Amazon’s hometown of Seattle, where the first location is based, as well as Los Angeles, these people said. It’s not clear if Amazon will open up Go stores in any other cities this year.
In Los Angeles, Amazon has held serious talks with billionaire developer Rick Caruso about bringing a Go store to The Grove, his 600,000-square-foot outdoor shopping Mecca, two of these people said.
And in Seattle, Amazon had identified at least three locations for additional Go stores as of last year, according to one source.
The first Amazon Go store opened one month ago to much fanfare, after more than 12 months of hype that only crescendoed as the company delayed the public opening by about a year.
Amazon spent four years crafting a system — dubbed Just Walk Out Technology — that allows shoppers to scan their phone upon entrance, grab desired items off a shelf, and automatically get charged the right amount after exiting without the need to stop at a cash register to pay. (Here’s a photo tour of the first Amazon Go store.)
Amazon is hoping that by making convenience store trips even faster, it will raise the bar for brick-and-mortar shopping in much the same way that Amazon Prime did for online shopping and delivery.
If successful, the initiative would help Amazon become even more ingrained in the daily lives of consumers and grab a greater chunk of the giant food and beverage industry that still predominantly lives inside brick-and-mortar stores. There’s also been speculation that Amazon could add the Amazon Go system comprised of cameras and sensors to Whole Foods stores now that it owns the grocery chain, but that would be a huge undertaking and represent a significantly greater technology challenge.