Amazon drives Seattle stores

February 15, 2017 in technology

Amazon is putting the finishing touches to its new drive-up grocery store in the Ballard neighbourhood of Seattle – its home metro – with another under construction over in the city’s SoDo district. On completion, consumers will be able to purchase their items online in the usual manner before scooting off to the new stores at a scheduled timeslot to pick them up.

The retailer rolled out its first Amazon Go checkout-less store in Seattle in December, though solely in beta for employees (a full opening is scheduled shortly). Shoppers need to fire up an app in the convenience-style outlet, and, using computer vision and sensors to detect the picked off shelves, orders are fulfilled automatically and visits charged directly to Amazon accounts. The company reckons a 1,800 square-foot Go will need between three and 10 staff per shift to keep it running smoothly.

Amazon opened its first physical bookstore at the University Village shopping centre in Seattle in late-2015. The company has since rolled out more than a score of mini retail outlets across the US designed primarily to show off Amazon’s own-brand hardware, in particular its Echo home speaker range – with Alexa onboard – abd plenty more device pop-up store openings are in the pipeline.

The company is also busy putting together a private fleet of delivery vehicles for deployment in its top US markets to support the expansion of the Amazon Fresh online grocery business. The retailer is looking to open a bullish 2,000 Amazon Fresh stores across the US within the next 10 years.

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