Today Amazon opens a 10,400-square-foot cashier-free grocery store in Seattle. The Wall Street Journal reports that the company hopes the store “will serve as a showcase for its technology as it seeks to sell its system to other businesses,” particularly convenience stores, airport shops, and stadium stores. The technology would likely be offered as a service, either under a licensing or profit-sharing model. Currently, twenty-five smaller Amazon Go stores operate in the U.S.
Will Amazon have access to sales transaction data from “Go” partner retailers? That’s a key question, given that the company has been blamed by critics for using “data it collects from other merchants in its marketplace to boost its own brands.” A spokesperson for Amazon declined comment. But technology analyst Joanne Joliet told the WSJ that data concerns may scare off potential retail partners.
Though Amazon Go has received ample attention for its cashier-free technology, there are other players: two startups, AiFi and Grabango, offer similar checkout-free technologies, and a number of retailers are ignoring the siren call of Amazon Go and developing their own versions. A test market in Dallas called Sam’s Club Now has quietly operated for over a year, and 7-Eleven just opened its own 700-square-foot cashier-free retail store at its corporate headquarters in Texas.
This story has been updated.