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Amazon is expanding its cashier-less grocery empire

Amazon Go in action.
Amazon Go in action.
Image: Reuters/Jason Redmond
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Amazon is beginning to open its cashier-less grocery stores outside of its hometown of Seattle. First stop: Chicago.

The Amazon Go store in the land of the deep-dish pizza and vegetable-laden hot dog opens today (Sept. 17), and will keep the same 7am to 8pm operating hours. And beyond Chicago, Amazon has plans for stores in New York and San Francisco, the company confirmed last week, which signals that the machine-learning technology that powers the stores is leaving its testing phase. Amazon now has a total of four Go stores, with the other three in Seattle.

In terms of US adoption, Amazon seems ahead of the curve. Globally, it isn’t alone in providing this kind of store experience. In China, Tencent, Alibaba, and JD.com are also trying to use facial recognition and radio-frequency tags on products to achieve the same goal.

Analysts are expecting a massive rollout of Amazon stores, which replaces the traditional checkout process with cameras and sensors that recognize when a customer with the Amazon app picks out a product. Their account is charged automatically when they leave the store. Retail real-estate guru Joe Sitt, founder and CEO of Thor Equities, predicted last week that Amazon could expand to 1,000 locations in the next 10 years.