Amazon first opened its cashier-less store in Seattle, which was followed by additional locations in Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle itself. These stores used cameras and software to detect that items customers pick up and charge them accordingly, allowing them to forgo the entire check-out process.
Amazon’s existing stores are the size of a small convenience store — and are thus much smaller than your typical grocery store, with fewer items and people to keep track of. Amazon’s rollout of the stores was delayed in 2017 because the stores kept breaking when there were more than 20 people inside.
The WSJ stated that Amazon has improved the software in those stores since they’ve opened, but the technology is still having trouble in those “bigger spaces with higher ceilings and more products.”
According to the report, Amazon is testing the technology in “a larger space formatted like a big store.” Those sources also state that the “most likely application” of that technology is for Whole Foods, which Amazon purchased in June 2017. It has also said in the past that it doesn’t plan to implement the technology in the chain’s stores.
The company reportedly has big plans for its cashier-less stores, and aims to open as many as 3,000 by 2021. This would allow it to compete with chains like CVS and Walmart—which in itself is opening an experimental cashier-less store in Texas.