The launch of the first Amazon Go outlets caused much commotion in the retail world, while simultaneously building huge expectations. But since then, all has gone very quiet around the cash-less convenience stores.
Amazon originally planned to open 56 Go branches by the end of this year, and a total of 156 by the end of 2020. To date, however, only 15 cash-less shops have opened, all of which are in major urban areas, reports RetailWire.
The slowdown in growth could be due to a variety of factors, including implementation costs, problems scaling up the technology to deal with greater numbers of customers, and concerns about the low acceptance rate of customers outside of city centres. Finding suitable premises for these types of supermarkets is also quite a challenge: the ceilings need to be high enough to be able to install the cameras and sensors that are essential for the proper functioning of the shop.
In the meantime, Amazon has also been transformed. In 2017, the e-commerce giant bought the supermarket chain Whole Foods, which it slowly integrated into its universe; it was expected that Amazon would eventually implement its Just Walk Out technology there. Meanwhile, the company has already been testing a new biometric payment system, which may indicate that faith in Amazon Go's technology is waning.
The pace at which Amazon is opening new Whole Foods stores is proof at least that the traditional distribution model is not yet obsolete.