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Amazon planning smart app-based 'Go' stores in U.S. next year

Convenience-type, app-based stores are expected to open next year.

By Doug G. Ware
Amazon planning smart app-based 'Go' stores in U.S. next year
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos speaks during a news conference in Santa Monica, Calif. Monday, his company unveiled Amazon Go, an app-based smart grocery store that eliminates the checkpout process and bill customers' Amazon accounts. Amazon is reportedly explosing several concepts to capture a larger share of the food market. File Photo by Phil McCarten/UPI | License Photo

SEATTLE, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- E-commerce giant Amazon.com on Monday unveiled plans to open brick and mortar app-based grocery stores in the United States -- a venture the company hopes will fill an enduring need for millions of Americans.

The company announced Amazon Go, which will feature a no-checkout process called "Just Walk Out Shopping" -- in which shoppers can enter the convenience-style store, take what they need and walk out. Advanced retail technology automatically detects what items were taken and bills customers' Amazon accounts.

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"Our checkout-free shopping experience is made possible by the same types of technologies used in self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning," it states on the Amazon Go website.

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"With our Just Walk Out Shopping experience, simply use the Amazon Go app to enter the store, take the products you want, and go! No lines, no checkout. (No, seriously.)"

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Amazon is already testing the concept in Seattle, and if the beta process goes well the company plans to open many Go stores nationwide. The stores will occupy about 1,800 square feet of retail space -- "conveniently compact so busy customers can get in and out fast."

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Amazon is attempting to tackle the small store format because it believes online grocery shopping is a niche corner of the market not yet adequately addressed.

"Four years ago we asked ourselves: what if we could create a shopping experience with no lines and no checkout? Could we push the boundaries of computer vision and machine learning to create a store where customers could simply take what they want and go?" the website states. "Our answer to those questions is Amazon Go."

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The stores will feature ready-made meals and individual grocery items like bread, milk, and many items you would find in a large grocery chain.

Amazon said it expects to make Amazon Go available to the public early next year.

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The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Amazon Go is one of at least three physical store concepts the company is exploring -- including large multifunctional stores with curb pickup service.

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In all, more than 2,000 Amazon grocery stores could open in the near future, the report said.

The stores are part of Amazon's Project Como, which the company hopes will capture a larger share of the food market.

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Shares of Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) rose by $19.02 (2.57 percent) during trading Monday.

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