New reports suggest that the global e-commerce company is preparing to expand its ambitions in cashless stores along with the possibility of selling the use of the technology to other providers.

This is according to Bloomberg, which reports that Amazon’s trial of Go stores, through which customers can purchase items by picking them up and being billed directly to their Amazon account. Beyond what had previously been trials of the format in a convenience setting, the company is now testing a supermarket sized space in Seattle.

Beginning as soon as Q1 2020, a source familiar with the project, both the extension of the format and its licenced form are expected to launch.

From a strategic perspective, an expansion into larger spaces counters some of the concerns retail analysts had raised: namely that small spaces would have been unlikely to yield the profits needed to pay for the back-end technology, and the roughly 1000 people who are working on the Go project as part of Amazon’s Physical Retail Technologies division.

The news follows confirmation from Amazon that it would be opening a new grocery store in California – separate from the Whole Foods that it acquired in 2017 – albeit without the Go technology, entering a more traditional retail format. It will bear the Amazon name and is expected to grow quickly, also, presumably, supplementing its Amazon Fresh grocery delivery business. Bloomberg’s report suggests where it might go.

It has taken some time to ready the technology, which was intended to cater to large stores straight away. Based on cameras, the system struggled to function with large groups of people, but with sufficient resources it appears Amazon is overcoming this hurdle. The bigger question, however, is about whether consumers will take to the technology.

Amazon’s lead will be significant; a growing pack of startups from across the world are developing similar technologies to attempt to catch up with the company. They will, however, have a long way to go.

Sourced from Bloomberg, Cnet, WARC