Amazon tests checkout-free shopping for larger stores

Amazon's cashierless technology has so far been limited to 'Go' stores with small footprints

Amazon's cashierless technology has so far been limited to'Go stores with small footprints. Stephen Brashear Getty Images

The Amazon Go system may come to larger stores.

Now the Wall Street Journal reports it's planning to go bigger and is currently testing the cashierless technology in a larger space laid out like a big grocery store.

Amazon's cashierless tech is already in use in brick-and-mortar Amazon Go stores in Seattle, Chicago, and San Francisco. The test is said to be a potential trial run for cashierless checkout at Whole Foods, the grocery store chain Amazon acquired past year for more than $13 billion, though the actual objective remains unclear. There's also the issue of how the technology would work with items like fruit and vegetables, which unless pre-packed, need to be weighed to determine price.

It's also unclear if Amazon will use the technology for Whole Foods - the supermarket chain it bought for $13.7 billion in 2017- but the Journal's sources note that it's a likely application. "We're new to physical space, but it's important for us", Dilip Kumar, Amazon Go's vice president of technology, told The Wall Street Journal on a recent tour. The company has opened more than a dozen bookstores and pop-up shops across the country.

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Its first store opened to the public in Seattle back in January, with a second location following in August. It is reportedly considering opening 3,000 such stores across America. When you've finished choosing your items, leave the store and you're be charged for what you've taken. Video cameras and other devices track customers as a three-dimensional object throughout the store, charging them for what they take.

The Amazon Go concept may be getting ready to go bigger. How would it handle the varying qualities of fresh produce, or track frozen foods hidden behind glass?

"It would be convenient not to wait in checkout lines", he said.

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