Amazon may soon bring its cashierless store concept to Whole Foods. It debuted the Amazon Go store two years ago, which operates without cashiers or self-checkouts. The online retailer acquired the natural food chain in 2017.
The modest 1,800 square-foot Amazon Go store allows consumers to use an app to pay; they check-in to the store via the app's barcode upon arrival and it calculates all items leaving the store associated with that user. Items would automatically be charged to the shopper upon leaving the store and receipts sent via the app. This would be the first time the concept is being tested in a larger store format and could do away with long checkout lines and the burdens of loading cart items onto registers, then back into bags in the cart. It would also virtually end shoplifting, a significant issue for retailers.
The news, reported today by the Wall Street Journal, conflicts with comments Amazon made previously, stating that it had no plans to test larger store formats. But with nearly 500 Whole Foods Markets now under its reign, Amazon seems to have shifted its position.
The cashierless concept is already in use at seven Amazon Go convenience stores in Seattle, Chicago, and San Francisco, and there are plans in the works to open more. Most are stocked with prepared food and drinks and a small handful of groceries.
“The e-tailer seems to view Whole Foods, at least in part, as a lab that will help it develop new physical retail stores across industries, which could include grocery,” Food Dive reported last year.
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