Bloomberg points out that the initial stores have carried a high setup cost, requiring $1 million in hardware alone, making the prospect of opening 3,000 stores a multi-billion dollar investment.
The cashierless shops allow customers to load up on snacks and walk out without the hassle of standing in line as the store sends a bill later.While Seattle and Chicago are already living the dream, Amazon is now considering a plan to open upwards of 3,000 cashierless stores over the course of the next few years, according to AdAge.
Customers have to scan a smartphone app to enter the store. However, that could all change in the coming months as Amazon is thought to be considering opening thousands of new Go stores over the course of three years.
The ecommerce giant revealed plans (and a trial store) for its futuristic stores back in 2016, and opened the first Amazon Go location to the public in Seattle this January. United Kingdom -based Pret has 450 locations worldwide, including New York, Boston and Chicago, focusing on fresh, healthy grab-and-go foods. Under the plan cited by Bloomberg, 10 Go stores would be up and running by the end of 2018, 50 in 2019, and up to 3,000 by 2021.
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Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos sees eliminating meal-time logjams in busy cities as the best way for Amazon to reinvent the brick-and-mortar shopping experience, where most spending still occurs. It would also give Amazon a much expanded footprint of physical stores in the USA, adding to its more than 350 Whole Foods stores.
The surge in Amazon's advertising business is due, in part, to more people searching from the e-commerce site directly, instead of going through Google's search engine. Reports in the past year about Amazon's plans have rattled incumbent players in a wide range of industries, including groceries, pharmacies and specialty office suppliers.
'We don't comment on rumors or speculation, ' an Amazon spokesperson told CNBC. About a year later, the company agreed to buy Whole Foods, which has fewer than 500 locations. It was founded in 1901.
Correction: Sept. 19, 4:32 p.m. PT: Fixes the number of Amazon Go stores in operation and when they first opened.