Is a Grocery Store Staffed by Robots Next Up for Amazon?
NEW YORK — A staff made up of robots may be the next step in Amazon.com Inc.'s foray into the brick-and-mortar world.
The online retailer is in the process of building a two-story, automated grocery store staffed mostly by robots, an inside source told the New York Post.
The location would be larger than the pilot Amazon Go stores, boasting 10,000 to 40,000 square feet, and would house a full staff of robots on the top floor that would collect and bag products for shoppers on the first floor. The ground floor would be devoted to products that shoppers typically like to touch, carrying as many as 4,000 items, from produce and meat to grab-and-go items. It could potentially also house a pharmacy.
The store could operate with as few as three human employees at a time, and staff would max out at 10 workers per store during any given shift, the news outlet reported.
At an average location, the staff could include six people: a manager with such duties as signing up customers for the Amazon Fresh grocery service; a worker to restock shelves; two workers to man drive-through windows; and two more workers to assist robots on the second floor.
No cashiers would be employed at the store, according to the report.
The prototype store reportedly calls for operating profit margins "north of 20 percent," compared to the 1.7 percent industry average.
Amazon has denied that it is planning such a prototype store.