Because they are very much still in the ‘experimental’ stage no-one really knows how many more Amazin Go stores will spring up outside of its ‘native’ Seattle, or if these stores can become genuine threats to traditional retailers. Nevertheless, this article makes some very interesting points (and predictions)
RobinReport: David Merrefield, Oct 17, 2018
The Amazon Go concept is innovative enough that it may prove to be a highly disruptive force. Yet, it might be a little too soon for anyone in established food retailing to despair. Nonetheless, let’s take a closer look the Amazon Go stores and whether there’s much chance that thousands of them might really spring up.
As is well known, the Amazon Go stores are brick-and-mortar units, embed with high tech. Their main claim to fame is that they’re cashier-less. Video and AI detect the products shoppers pull from the shelves; costs are seamlessly applied to customers’ previously registered credit cards. All this takes place without any active involvement from shoppers. They just select what they want and walk out.
Technology and Entertainment Show
The concept is novel, but who knows if the charm of cashier-less shopping will wear thin after a while? To date, the stores are very small, at less than 2,000 square-feet, and have just few hundred products to offer. They’re really not fully practical shopping venues.
The reality is that the lines to enter stores are often so long that any time saved by not interacting with a cashier is consumed by the wait. Amazon Go is as much a technology and entertainment show as it is a store.
Only four stores have been opened thus far – three in Seattle and one in Chicago – and they’re located in office districts. The idea is that office workers can quickly get a pre-packaged sandwich, snack, candy, beverage and the like for lunch or after work. No hot food is offered. A couple of the stores also feature a limited line of grocery staples, some under the Amazon-owned Whole Foods’ private label.
As for the near future, another store is planned for Chicago, two for San Francisco and one for New York. So, if things move right along there could eight or so of the units by the end of this year, of which six will have been opened this year. At the rate of six per year, it would take 500 years to open 3,000 stores, so the rollout rate would have to increase astronomically. It’s worth emphasizing that the 3,000-store figure hasn’t been verified by Amazon and is based on reporting from Bloomberg News. Read More