Amazon Will Consider Opening Up to 3000 Cashierless Stores by 2021

Darnell Taylor
September 20, 2018

Why it matters: While Amazon has ruled the e-tailer business for the past few years, physical stores represent a considerable investment which Jeff Bezos is willing to undertake for longer-term profitability.

Amazon opened its first cashierless store in Seattle two years ago (pictured) and has launched two additional locations in Seattle and another in Chicago.

The first AmazonGo store in downtown Seattle-which opened to the public back in January-reportedly cost over $1 million in hardware alone, says an unnamed source speaking with Bloomberg.

Amazon may look for ways to trim that cost in future stores, Bloomberg reported, perhaps by limiting the grocery selection to primarily higher-margin prepared food, which would also require fewer cameras.

According to a report, Amazon is considering opening 3,000 of its cashierless stores by 2021.

The first Amazon Go store in Seattle.

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Amazon Go grew from a single convenience-store site to four over the span of eight months. With 3,000 stores to its name, Amazon would stand to take a sizable bite of that pie.

Those companies had already been on notice for more than a year after Amazon bought its way into brick-and-mortar groceries with the $13.5 billion acquisition of more than 470 Whole Foods Market stores.

Maybe "popping down to the Go for a quick bite" won't sound so unusual by 2021. Amazon has committed to opening stores in NY and San Francisco.

The move comes as another corner of Amazon's vast empire is set to expand.

The US now has 155,000 convenience stores, with 122,500 of them combined with gas stations, according to industry group NACS.

The stores open in 2019 would be mostly in major metro areas, Bloomberg said. The target locations make it less of a threat to suburban gas station-convenience store combinations and more of a threat to big cities' quick-service eateries, such as Subway Restaurants, Panera Bread Co. and Pret a Manger. Los Angeles and NY have already been rumoured as cities to host Amazon Go stores. If it's a quarter mile from where people are walking and biking, the novelty of the technology won't matter.

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It warned there's a significant gap between the skills workers now have and those that may be required for future new roles. The number of full-time jobs will decrease as more companies choose to use freelancers or professional contractors.

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