Earlier in January this year, Amazon launched its first AmazonGo store in Seattle. The Go stores offer a cashier-less shopping experience in a physical store. It uses sensors and lightweight automation software to let customers shop and checkout without interacting with a human employee or kiosk.
Recently, the company opened another AmazonGo store in Seattle. Earlier this week, it opened its doors in Chicago, marking the first Go store to open outside Amazon’s home state and city. The company has reportedly planned more such stores in Chicago and San Francisco later this year and the next year.
Now, a report from Bloomberg claims that Seattle e-commerce giant is considering a plan to open as many as 3,000 new AmazonGo stores in the next few years. This would be Amazon’s most aggressive move in the brick-and-mortar space since its purchase of Whole Foods in 2016.
The biggest challenge to Amazon’s plan is the high cost of opening such stores. The original AmazonGo in Seattle required over $1 million in hardware alone, reports Bloomberg. Narrowing the focus to prepared food-to-go would reduce the upfront cost of opening as it would require fewer cameras and sensors.
Amazon, which became the world’s largest online retailer thanks to the vast selection and quick delivery, is now focusing on convenience over selection to win the offline market. Amazon’s other brick-and-mortar initiatives include about 20 bookstores around the U.S. and the natural grocery chain Whole Foods Market.
Adding 3,000 convenience stores would make AmazonGo among the biggest chains in the U.S. The internet giant is considering plans to have about 10 locations open by the end of this year, about 50 locations in major metro areas in 2019, and then as many as 3,000 by 2021.
Update : A correction with respect to the opening of first AmazonGo store was made.