Amazon is in the process of scaling up its cashier-less stores across the US. A new report on the Wall Street Journal revealed that the e-commerce giant has begun testing the technology on a much wider scale and bigger stores. In January this year, Amazon opened the first cashier-less store in the city of Seattle. The company then opened up new stores in Chicago and San Francisco. The stores use a combination of AI software and cameras to detect what customers pick from the shelves. The shoppers are then charged automatically without going through the sometimes long check-out process.
However, the stores that are already in operation are very small. They are more or less simple convenience stores. The big question since they opened has always been whether the e-commerce giant can replicate the same success of these smaller stores into larger ones. Besides, there were reports that Amazon was facing challenges with its technology when more than 20 shoppers went into the stores. This was part of the reason why a wide rollout of the technology was delayed.
Large stores do have certain challenges. For instance, unlike the smaller stores, they offer a wide range of items to buy. In the cashier-less stores that Amazon has launched so far, the items available on the shelves range from groceries to a few other items but not nearly as much as you would expect in a bigger store. There is also the issue of traffic. Bigger stores will have a bigger number of shoppers. Can the technology detect shopped items and bill accordingly in such a scenario?
Well, it turns out that Amazon has figured everything out. The fact that the e-commerce platform is piloting the cashier-less store technology in bigger locations is a clear indication that it’s ready to launch. According to the Wall Street Journal report, Amazon has already started testing the new technology on large spaces with a larger traffic and the hope is that the improvements made so far on the technology will work. The report did also note that the most likely application for this new technology would be Whole Foods. Whole Foods is fully owned by Amazon after the e-commerce giant acquired the retailer in a multibillion-dollar deal.
However, Amazon has said in the past that it doesn’t intend to implement any new technology in its brick-and-mortar stores. The company has been trying over the last few years to get a presence in the physical retail space. It’s not clear what the end game is for Amazon but many analysts believe that the company is looking to bring its superior technology offline too. The cashier-less shopping experience would be the ideal addition to brick-and-mortar stores but Amazon is working on other technologies too.
Amazon has big plans for the cashier-less stores. According to recent reports, the company is planning to open at least 3,000 stores in the US over the next three years. This is part of the big plan to compete on an equal footing with other huge brick-and-mortar retailers.