Amazon is continuing to push tests of its cashierless checkout technology for bigger stores with larger spaces and experimenting with the technology in Seattle.
The technology functions well in a small store format but is harder to use in bigger spaces with higher ceilings and more production, according to the trial so far.
Amazon is reportedly considering using the technology in its Whole Foods stores, the supermarket chain it bought last year.
There are almost 500 Whole Foods in the US, although the chain does also have a small UK presence, with seven stores, all of which are in London. Amazon’s checkout-free system is already operational in certain Amazon Go stores, across Seattle, Chicago and San Francisco.
With its Go store in Seattle, Amazon has seemingly managed to eliminate shop-lifting by encouraging it. It allows shoppers to buy things with the help of a smartphone app by tracking what they pick up from the shelves and what they put back, billing their credit cards after they leave.
Amazon’s 1,800 square foot Go store is now open to the public after lengthy staff trials. Shoppers download the Go smartphone app and scan a barcode on their screen when they enter the store. Once inside, a mixture of computer vision, machine learning and sensor technologies track what shoppers take off the shelves and put back.
There are no shopping trollies or baskets. Shoppers simply put items in their own bags. These are added to their Amazon account online. If they put the item back on the shelf, it is removed from their virtual basket.
The company is understood to be planning to have around 3,000 of the cashierless stores by 2021. It is not known where or when it will be opening its first UK cashierless store.
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