Amazon today officially expanded its checkout-free grocery stores beyond Seattle with the opening of its very first Amazon Go store in Chicago, located at 113 S. Franklin Street.
The new Chicago Amazon Go outlet is open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. Monday to Friday and sells everything from breakfasts to takeaway snacks and meal kits.
By way of a quick recap, Amazon first unveiled Amazon Go back in 2016, when it garnered considerable attention by introducing a brick-and-mortar grocery store with no physical checkouts. To get started, shoppers must first install the Amazon Go app for iOS or Android and log in with their Amazon credentials. The store is equipped with sensors and computer vision smarts, which detect goods as they are removed from shelves and charge the consumer’s account automatically. So you basically put items in your basket, and you’re good to go.
The first store was in the company’s home city of Seattle, and Amazon opened its second store in the city a few weeks back, followed by a third one a week later. Amazon had previously revealed it would expand Amazon Go to both Chicago and San Francisco, and today is the first step in this U.S.-wide rollout.
Checkout-free convenience is part of a growing trend around the world. In China, Alibaba is adopting a similar model with the cashierless Tao Café, and it is looking to further bridge the offline/online commerce divide after opening a bunch of cashless Hema supermarkets that mine big data to build up customer profiles. Alibaba recently built on this initiative when it entered into a deep partnership with coffee giant Starbucks.
When Amazon Go first opened for Amazon employees in December 2016, it was essentially a proof of concept. Nearly two years later, Amazon now has four checkout-free stores open to the public, with another scheduled for launch in San Francisco soon and perhaps even more arriving before the year is out.