The trillion-pound online giant reportedly plans to launch 10 tech-packed Go shops near commuter hubs, which will track customers’ every move as they browse the aisles.
The first Amazon Go store could reportedly open in London by the end of the year after expanding in the US.
The world’s biggest online retailer plans to swoop on London’s high streets in a takeover of mini-marts and bookshops that will see them equipped with automated customer-tracking technology; it has been reported.
Amazon is said to be eyeing the capital for moving its cashless and checkoutless Go convenience stores near to commuter hubs as their bricks-and-mortar expansion continues in the US after launching in 2018.
The digital shopping giant today refused to confirm or deny reports in the Sunday Times it had struck a deal to open ten high-tech shops, and was “holding talks” for a further 20 sites.
It was reported that the first outlet could open in London by the end of the year after the company saw a huge demand for online shopping in the pandemic
Amazon has been scouting for locations in the capital for about two years, but now appears to have pounced amid a growing number of vacant high street shops fuelled by the economic fallout of coronavirus.
Convenience stores being targeted for takeover are reported to be between 4,000sq ft and 5,000sq ft, which is larger than many of the “local” or “metro” sites of Amazon’s rivals.
The company is also reportedly “holding talks” with bosses of shopping centres to move into vacant units and turn them into bookshops or stores selling goods such as toys and kitchen utensils.
Amazon also refused to confirm or deny these claims.
Its Go shops work by instructing customers to scan a QR code on their smartphone at the door, which opens a small access gate.
Cameras and sensors programmed by deep learning software then track shoppers as they browse the aisles.
Every move and item examined on the shelf and put in their basket is recorded via computer vision.
Shoppers then leave the store, the bill is charged to their Amazon account, and they are emailed a receipt.
Last week it was revealed that the company’s global sales rose by 40 per cent to $88.9bn (£67.9bn) and profits doubled to $5.2bn in this year’s second quarter.
It is now the world’s most valuable company, worth £1.2 trillion, while founder Jeff Bezos has a personal fortune of £130bn, making him the richest person on Earth.
But Amazon has been criticised for how little the firm, whose European operations are based in Luxembourg, pay in business rates compared to UK-headquartered rivals.
One executive at a rival chain told the Sunday Times that by paying less tax Amazon was “not contributing” to the social fabric of British life.
Amazon declined to comment on the report or answer any questions about its London plans.