Amazon is closing more and more of its Go stores. The cashier-less technology that Amazon pioneered there can now be found at more and more other retailers, but what future does the chain itself have?
Amazon’s “Go” convenience stores exist for about five years today and pioneered the Just Walk Out technology, in which sensors and smart cameras record what customers take. This eliminates the need for shoppers to queue at a checkout lane and automatically credits the amount of their purchases when they walk out.
However, there are signs that the chain is coming to an end: the second of these stores that Amazon opened, in an office district in Amazon’s hometown of Seattle, has been abruptly closed. The store had opened in August 2018 and reportedly still had many customers until the end. Why the branch closed is not clear, GeekWire reports.
Earlier this year, Amazon already announced that it would close eight of its cashless stores in the United States, while British expansion plans have also been shelved. In February, the company announced that it had even paused the expansion of its larger Amazon Fresh supermarkets. No new Amazon Go has opened since March.
Still, the e-commerce giant says it will continue to open Go stores. However, after completing a major round of restructuring, which included laying off thousands of employees, it plans to periodically evaluate and optimise its store portfolio. Moreover, Amazon appears to be focusing on selling the technology to third-party retailers.
“From grocers and convenience stores to retailers in stadiums, airports and more, there are now more than 50 third-party stores in the U.S., Australia and the U.K. using Just Walk Out technology, with new locations being added every month”, a spokesperson said.
Rumours that Amazon, along with other US technology players, is interested in acquiring Ocado also point in this direction. Ocado is a British online supermarket and pioneer of fully automated robotic warehousing, offering its services to Kroger (in the US) and Casino (in France), among others. Together, Amazon and Ocado could create a fully automated supermarket solution. However, these rumours have not been confirmed.