Amazon is set to get into the convenience store business by setting up as many as 3,000 cashierless Amazon Go stores by 2021, reports Bloomberg. Since then, the company has opened two more Seattle sites and one in Chicago, and has confirmed plans for San Francisco and NY stores.
An Amazon spokesperson said "we don't comment on rumors or speculation", in response to GeekWire's inquiry.
The cost of the technology in just one store cost Amazon one million dollars.
That many new stores could change people's expectations for convenience stores, forcing other retailers to adopt a cashier-less model.
Amazon did not immediately respond to FOX Business' request for comment. Whole Foods Market, acquired by Amazon in August 2017, now has 470 stores in 42 states and the District of Columbia.
The new chain would be a massive expansion of Amazon's retail efforts, which also include Whole Foods as well as bookstores and in-mall kiosks. "Now they're quietly starting to ramp up the Go format".
Walgreens, for example, has about 8,100 U.S. locations. They're an experimental company, and they've been tweaking this for a while. "Nobody's ever seen a cashless store, so this could be something else".
Amazon has already built four stores with the high-tech concept, with their first store opening in Seattle in 2016.
Ready-to-eat lunch items greet shoppers when they enter.
Amazon is experimenting with assortments and sizes as it opens the Amazon Go locations. The store offers consumers a cashier-free shopping experience and tracks purchases through video cameras and sensors in store shelves. Its more limited grocery assortment excludes staples like bread and milk and sells beer and wine but not liquor.
Amazon could reduce the cost of hardware and increase profit margins by focusing on selling prepared foods, instead of offering an expanded selection of grocery items. 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.
Amazon Go is Amazon's cashierless store, which features what it calls "just walk out" technology and payment through its proprietary app. Shoppers use the Amazon Go mobile app to gain entry to the store through a turnstile. They can then take the items they want and leave without having to stop at a counter to pay; their accounts are automatically charged when they leave.