There are plans to open six more by the end of the year, and up to 50 stores in 2019. The stores could also help Amazon become a bigger player in the pharmacy business because it agreed to buy PillPack, an online drugstore, in June.
Currently, Amazon Go has three locations in Seattle, Washington and one in Chicago, the latter of which just opened this week.The first Seattle location opened in 2016, and it is one of two that have a small selection of groceries in addition to the limited options of salads, sandwiches and snacks all of the stores have.
AmazonGo stores do not have cashiers.
The original AmazonGo in downtown Seattle required more than $1 million in hardware alone, a person familiar with the matter has said.
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. The company is now considering narrowing its focus even further to freshly prepared foods that would appeal to lunch-time crowds - something that one of Bloomberg's sources likened to the United Kingdom chain Pret a Manger.
That huge number of stores would make Amazon Go one of the largest retail chains in the country, and the third-largest chain of convenience stores by number of stores. Amazon has since opened that store to the public and added two more in Seattle.
The idea is to open up stores in dense urban areas with large populations of young, well-to-do folks who are happy to pay a premium for high-quality meals on the go.
It would put the stores in competition with businesses like Subway, Panera and Pret a Manager, as well as other places that offer quick bites and takeout items. Additionally, opening multiple stores in the same metro area could help minimize costs since they could in theory share a centralized food production facility. That never happened and Amazon issued a rare denial of the rumor. It would also give Amazon a much expanded footprint of physical stores in the U.S., adding to its more than 350 Whole Foods stores.
Essentially using your smartphone as a pass, shoppers must swipe their device at a turnstile in order to enter the store.