Amazon could be aiming to expand its cashierless stores, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal, which says the company is testing the technology in larger stores.
In January, Amazon opened its first cashierless store in Seattle, followed by additional locations in Seattle, Chicago and San Francisco. Those stores use cameras and software to detect which items customers pick up and charge them accordingly, allowing them to forgo the entire checkout process.
Amazon’s existing stores are the size of a small convenience store, and therefore much smaller than your typical grocery store, with fewer items and people to keep track of. Amazon’s launch of the stores was delayed in 2017 because stores kept breaking down when more than 20 people were inside. the WSJ says Amazon has improved the software in those stores since they opened, but apparently the technology still struggles in those “larger spaces with higher ceilings and more products,” according to the WSJThe sources of
According to the report, Amazon is testing the technology in “a larger space with a large store format.” Those sources also say that the “most likely application” of that technology is for Whole Foods, which Amazon bought in June 2017. It has said in the past that it does not plan to roll out the technology in the chain’s stores.
Amazon reportedly has big plans for its cashierless stores, with plans to open up to 3,000 by 2021. That would allow it to compete with chains like CVS and Walmart, and to do so, it would have to fix a range. in sizes from the smallest corner store to the largest supermarkets. Other companies are paying attention, too. In October, Walmart announced that it was opening an experimental cashierless Sam’s Club store in Texas, in which customers would use an app on their phone to scan items, rather than relying on the store’s systems to track their purchases.