Amazon is reportedly planning to dramatically ramp up its Amazon Go grocery store roll out over the next few years, aiming for around 3000 stores by 2021.
According to a report by Bloomberg, sources close to the company said Amazon’s chief executive Jeff Bezos hopes to create a format similar to Pret a Manger in the UK, selling freshly prepared food and a limited number of groceries but utilising its coveted cashierless system.
The online giant has been positioning itself to enter the physical retail market for some time, having bought grocer Whole Foods Market in 2016, while opening four standalone Amazon Go stores in the US.
One of the key barriers to achieving this aggressive roll out is the high cost of the hardware required in each store, which uses cameras and sensors to detect when a customer selects an item, charging them automatically via a dedicated app.
The hardware in the original store is understood to have cost more the $1 million (£756,000), leading to speculation that Amazon may focus on the higher margin food-to-go items, which also require less cameras and sensors.
Bezos is reportedly considering plans to grow AmazonGo to 10 locations by the end of the year, growing to 50 in major city areas by 2019, and 3000 in the proceeding two years.
These will be targeted at high footfall urban areas, and customers willing to spend more for a better-quality service and quality.