Amazon’s new cashierless store is its latest huge bet in defiance of the retail apocalypse

The Amazon Go store in Seattle.

caption
The Amazon Go store in Seattle.
source
Matt Weinberger/Business Insider

  • Amazon opened its futuristic Amazon Go store to the public on Monday.
  • It’s just one of several physical retail initiatives the primarily online retailer has undertaken recently.

Amazon has become synonymous with online shopping.

The e-commerce giant is now estimated to take about half of all online sales in the US.

But Amazon cannot live online alone. The company is increasingly moving into the physical world, opening spaces in malls, shopping districts, and even local strip malls. It’s a move that signals the company’s ambitions are larger than e-commerce, combining its digital prowess with the convenience of physical retail.

One reason that may be, an anonymous source told CNBC in September, is that Amazon is seeing online sales go up in areas that have physical stores. Brick-and-mortar stores increase customer awareness of the brand, and it’s extra fuel for the Amazon engine.

Its latest move is the opening of its cashierless Amazon Go convenience store in Seattle.

Here are all of the ways that Amazon has expanded into the physical world so far.


Amazon Go is a new kind of convenience store.

The Amazon Go store in Seattle.

source
Matt Weinberger/Business Insider

Amazon Go is the store of the future.

With no lines or checkout process, the store uses cameras and sensors to track what you put in your basket. It then charges you through your Amazon account.

The store opened to the public on January 22 after a lengthy beta period. The company is reportedly planning to open more stores over the next few years, though possibly not as many as had previously been reported.


It acquired Whole Foods for $13.7 billion.

source
Kate Taylor/Business Insider

Amazon’s acquisition of natural-foods store Whole Foods is the big one to mention here.

Whole Foods was already a national chain with more than 450 stores, but with the power of Amazon behind it, it has the potential to be something even larger. Changes like selling the Amazon Echo, installing Amazon Lockers, and lowering prices are all already under way.


It struck a partnership with Kohl’s, where it will be selling Amazon devices and accepting returns.

source
Kohl’s

Kohl’s started Amazon returns at 82 stores in Chicago and Los Angeles in October.

The returns are free, and they don’t need to be packaged before drop-off.

Ten stores also feature an “Amazon smart home experience” with a separate section selling Amazon devices like the Echo.


It introduced an updated version of the vending machine.

source
Thomson Reuters

Amazon also has a line of bookstores for college campuses, which it operates in conjunction with each school.

In addition to offering books and supplies for students, it also has a special Amazon Locker device service called Amazon Instant, where attendants stuff items from the store into the slots, ready to be picked up by customers in a way that’s similar to a vending machine.


It opened up bookstores.

source
Sarah Jacobs

Amazon has moved into brick-and-mortar retail by opening bookstores in major cities like Seattle, Chicago, and New York.

The stores operate exactly the same as Amazon’s online bookstore, and they allow visitors to browse a curated selection similar to how it appears on the site.

There are currently 11 stores open, with two more on the way.


It introduced AmazonFresh pickup.

source
Jason Redmond/Reuters

Prime Fresh members who order groceries through the AmazonFresh services can choose to pick up their orders at two locations in Seattle.


It set up Amazon Lockers in some grocery stores.

source
Wikimedia

Amazon Lockers offer an alternative place to receive packages for customers who either can’t have it sent or don’t want it sent to their home or office.

The lockers are now offered in places like convenience stores, drug stores, and grocery stores.


It introduced Amazon Pop-Up stores.

source
Amazon

Amazon has opened Pop-Up stores in malls around the country for customers to come and experience Amazon’s devices firsthand.

From Alexa-enabled gadgets like Echo, Look, and Show, to e-readers like the Kindle and Fire tablets, it’s a place to try before you buy.

There are currently around 40 Amazon Pop-Up locations across the US.