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Amazon plans to open more cashierless grocery stores this year

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Next up: Los Angeles?

Amazon Go store in Seattle
Outside the first Amazon Go store in Seattle.
Getty Images

Amazon’s first checkoutless “grocery store of the future,” Amazon Go, opened to the public in Seattle last month after more than a year of testing with company employees. And according to a new report from Recode, more could be on the way soon.

Sources familiar with Amazon’s plans told Recode that the company is planning to open as many as six new Go locations this year, focusing on Seattle and Los Angeles. Los Angeles, which was also the first city after Seattle to get the Amazon Fresh grocery delivery service, could see a Go location head to its iconic outdoor mall, The Grove.

The first Go store, housed in an Amazon office building in Seattle, covers 1,800-square-feet. Customers enter through turnstiles after scanning their Amazon Go smartphone app. The store uses a system of cameras and sensors to track exactly what each person takes or puts back and updates customers’ virtual carts accordingly. When shopping is complete, customers once again pass through the gate, which will automatically charge their Amazon accounts.

Items found in the store are typical grocery fare, from ready-to-eat items and meal kits to baked goods, a section featuring Whole Foods’ 365 Everyday Value brand products, and, yes, LaCroix. While the store has no cashiers, the wine and beer section still comes with a living breathing Amazon employee to check IDs.

Originally slated to open in early 2017, the store delayed its launch due to various technical difficulties, such as getting the system to watch more than 20 people at once or distinguish between customers of similar body types.

No cashiers, just gates that scan for your Amazon Go app—see more photos inside here.
Photo by Jason del Rey via Recode

The Amazon Go concept represents the latest phase in the online retail giant’s expanding brick-and-mortar influence. As Jason Del Rey at Recode explains:

...the store’s real reason for being is to test what could be a breakthrough Amazon hypothesis: That by adding even more convenience to the convenience store model— with the help of a healthy dose of technology—Amazon might be able to carve out a loyal customer base outside of its website and inside a physical store where the vast majority of food and grocery shopping still occurs.

To that end, the company already made a whopping $13.7 billion purchase of the Whole Foods grocery chain last year. There has also been talk of a brick-and-mortar Amazon furniture and appliance store in the works. This is not to mention the company’s growing bookstore chain and massive warehouse empire.

Check out more photos inside the first Go store over on Recode.