Amazon today officially expanded its checkout-less grocery stores outside Seattle, as the ecommerce giant opened its very first Amazon Go store in Chicago, located at 113 S Franklin Street.
The new Chicago Amazon Go outlet is open from 7am until 8pm Monday to Friday, and sells everything from hot meals to takeaway snacks and meal kits.
By way of a quick recap, Amazon first unveiled Amazon Go back in 2016, serving as a pretty mind-blowing brick-and-mortar grocery store with no physical checkouts. Shoppers must first install the Amazon Go app for iOS or Android, and log-in with their Amazon credentials. The store is equipped with sensors and computer vision smarts, which detect goods as they are removed from shelves and charges the consumer’s account automatically. So you basically put your goods in your basket and you’re good to go.
The first store was in the company’s home city of Seattle, and Amazon opened its second store in the city a few weeks back followed by a third one a week later. Amazon had previously revealed that it would expand Amazon Go to both Chicago and San Francisco, and today the first step in this U.S.-wide rollout has begun.
This is part of a growing trend around the world. Over in China, Alibaba is adopting a similar model with the cashier-free Tao Café, while it is further looking to bridge the offline/online commerce divide after it opened a bunch of cashless Hema supermarkets that mine big data to build up customer profiles. Alibaba recently built on this initiative when it entered into a deep partnership with coffee giant Starbucks.
Back in the U.S., Amazon acquired organic supermarket chain Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion last year, which it is continuing to tie-in with its broader digital business model.
When Amazon Go first opened for business for Amazon employees in December 2016, it was more a proof-of-concept. Nearly two years later, Amazon now has four of the stores open to the public, with another scheduled for launch in San Francisco soon and perhaps even more to come before the year is out.