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Get Ready Chicago and San Francisco, It's Amazon Go Time

Online Retail Giant to Expand Cashier-less Grocery Stores Beyond Seattle Testing Ground; Timing of Openings Still Unknown
May 15, 2018
Credit: Amazon Jobs




Chicago and San Francisco will soon be hosting new Amazon Go cashier-less grocery stores, according to Amazon.com, which posted job openings for both locations on its website.

The job postings confirm rumors that have been running rampant for months as the world’s biggest online retailer takes its first steps to expand the cashier-less grocery store concept beyond its Seattle hometown.

In a confirmation to CoStar, an Amazon spokesperson said, "We plan to open Amazon Go in Chicago and San Francisco." It’s unclear when the stores might open.

The job openings for store managers and an assistant manager, first reported by the Seattle Times, tout Amazon’s self-proclaimed creation of "the world’s most advanced shopping technology so you never have to wait in line," by having shoppers use the Amazon Go app to track prices of items removed from shelves. The first Amazon Go store opened in January, at which time Amazon hinted that it was looking at other locations.

In February, Curbed Chicago reported that building-permit plans for an "Amazon store" were filed for a downtown location at 203 N. LaSalle, across from the James R. Thompson Center at Randolph and LaSalle. Those plans called for a 625-square-foot retail and pick-up location with 2,012 square feet of storage. The Seattle store is about 1,800 square feet.

Meanwhile, other reports have said Amazon is planning to open more Go stores in San Francisco and new stores in Seattle. The moves appear to indicate that the e-commerce giant is comfortable after ironing out the wrinkles of its initial testing in Seattle.

Amazon refers to the concept as a "Just Walk Out Shopping" experience in which customers use the app to enter the store and choose the products they want. The app captures the number and type of items and their prices. Consumers are responsible for tallying up their purchases. After they leave, Amazon sends a receipt and charges their Amazon account.

"Our Just Walk Out Technology automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart," according to the company.

Of course, the app is a must-have to shop there, as is an Amazon account and a recent-generation Android or iPhone.

The stores still require staff - the initial job openings are for management posts that will hire associates who work in kitchens and the store to prep ingredients for ready-to-eat food, stock shelves and help customers with product recommendations and directions.

Expanding the concept comes at a time when at least 20 cities are waiting for Amazon’s decision on its HQ2 expansion plans and when the company is rapidly expanding office and distribution locations throughout the country. Amazon already has Amazon Books and Amazon Pop-Up stores in Chicago and in a handful of California cities.

Jennifer Waters, Chicago Reporter  CoStar Group   

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