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Testing the use of human worker-eliminating technology, Amazon is planning to open cashier-less grocery stores according to a Bloomberg report. Amazon already uses “just walk out technology,” which involves a web of cameras and software to charge customers. This technology is current is use at 21 Amazon Go stores across the country.
Shoppers simply check into the store with their Amazon app, select what they want from shelves, and leave without waiting in a line to check out - ultimately removing the need for human cashiers.
According to Bloomberg, Amazon wants to open both larger supermarkets and smaller pop-up stores as early as the first quarter of 2020, both using the same Amazon Go technology that creates a shopping experience without any checkout lines.
Another 10,400 square-foot Go supermarket is being tested in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Amazon plans to open more 56 stores by the end of 2019 and 156 by end of 2020.
While the Amazon stores may be more efficient than traditional stores, advocates for the food industry and retail workers say the company’s expansion in the grocery business threatens workers' livelihoods.
It “represents a clear and present danger to working- and middle-class Americans," says Marc Perrone, President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.
Moreover, although Amazon Go customers say the experience of shopping in the stores is seamless, retail analysts have questioned whether this high-tech format is a good fit for the low-margin world of convenience stores. Another reported difficulty this format is finding retail space with high enough ceilings to accommodate Amazon’s camera arrays.
As stated by Bloomberg, this next round of expansion could include Amazon licensing its technology to rival retailers, some of which have been investing in their own cashierless tech.
Although the brand already owns the Whole Foods Market chain, Amazon is reportedly planning to open a its own, district grocery chain in California in 2020.
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