Amazon’s plan to open 3,000 cashierless stores by 2021 could cost as much as US$3 billion, according to analysts at Morgan Stanley. The e-commerce giant is believed to be considering expanding its AmazonGo stores, where shoppers simply use a smartphone to make purchases. It would also signal a bigger push by one of the world’s largest companies into the grocery sector.
Amazon unveiled the first such store in Seattle in 2016 and has since announced two additional sites (in its hometown Seattle and one in Chicago). While some of these shops only offer a limited selection of salads, sandwiches and snacks, others also have a small selection of groceries.
Amazon needs to invest in in-store automation technologies, cameras and sensors for the new stores, but the estimated US$3billion cost would still be a small investment in view of Amazon’s US$200 billion total 2018 retail operating expenses, said the analysts.
The original AmazonGo in Seattle is said to have cost more than US$1 million in hardware alone. Adding 3,000 new stores would make AmazonGo among the biggest convenience store chains in the U.S.