Since opening the first cashier-less Amazon Go convenience store in Seattle almost three years ago, Amazon has continued to open new stores in a few additional cities. Amazon is not sticking to it's original plan to spread across the country.
The Information Amazon planned to open 56 stores by the end of this year and 156 by the end of 2020, but it just announced 18. Just 15 of those are open to the public and are located only in Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, and Seattle. The Information are reportedly printed in April, it's really hard to say why
One idea Amazon could find good store locations. According to the documents, Amazon 's cashierless stores need to be checked. They are therefore likely to have to stop shopping at the airport, so they are likely to stop by.
Another idea: Amazon may have reconsidered its bet on smaller stores as it explores building bigger ones. In March – the same month Amazon suddenly shut down all 87 of its pop-up kiosks in the US – so we heard the company was unaware that it was going to hit on Whole Foods (which it believes that it has more than one Amazon brand (or no Amazon brand at all) has more potential than its other grocery businesses.
Back in 2018, according to the docs, it already exploring a larger concept grocery store.
And although Amazon hyped the go stores as an easy, near-frictionless payment experience and has been testing it for a few years, Amazon is happy to find the right formula for how to buy those groceries. The company said in April that it plans to accept cash at stores, which could slow down the in-store experience. Just this past week, the New York Post reported that the company is considering biometric payments by way of scanning customers' hands to pay for purchases at Whole Foods.
Amazon has also expanded its Whole Foods grocery delivery service in the months since its Amazon Go rollout plan was originally drafted – another friction-light way to sell groceries without needing tiny stores.
Amazon is also under continued pressure from activists criticizing its business practices, so the company could take a more careful approach to rolling out the Go stores as a result. When the camera-heavy cashierless concept that watches you as you shop, it's not taking nearly as much flak over its facial recognition tech. Or its tipping policy (since improved), worker conditions (stay tuned), or the massive local backlash over its supposed search for a new headquarters (now half-canceled).
Regardless of the reason for the slow rollout, it seems The information, and it seems to be the only one of the two year ago. Correction, 1:12 AM ET: We re-counted. We re-counted and Amazon currently lists 15 Go stores that are open to the public, not 14.