Even if it doesn’t open the stores itself, you could see Amazon-style cashierless stores proliferate across the US. According to CNBC, Amazon is in talks with a variety of merchants, including movie theatres, airport stores and sports stadiums to license its Go technology to those companies. Specifically, CNBC says Amazon has approached OTG’s CIBO Express and Cineworld’s Regal Theatres about potential partnerships. The company could also license the tech to concession stands at MLB stadiums.
The sources who spoke to CNBC say Amazon sees the partnerships as a way to build out its retail presence faster and cheaper than it has done so far. The company also reportedly views the move as a potential way to boost the amount of money it makes off its Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud platform since it could offer to power another company’s Go turnstiles through AWS. It’s not clear if the turnstiles at third-party stores will feature Amazon branding, nor exactly how the company plans to structure any potential deals.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about Amazon taking Go to airports. At the start of last year, a Reuters report said Amazon had approached several airport authorities to open up Go stores at terminals across the US. The difference here is that Amazon no longer seems interested in opening those stores itself.
Amazon currently operates 16 Go stores in four cities across the US — Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Seattle. According to a Bloomberg report from last year, the company had planned to open 3,000 Amazon Go stores by the end of 2021. One potential roadblock the company could face in trying to convince companies to adopt the technology is that multiple cities, including San Francisco and Philadelphia, have banned cashless stores. States like Massachusetts and New Jersey have also followed suit.