UFCW President: Amazon's Cashierless Stores 'About Greed,' Not Convenience

Randy Hofbauer
Digital and Technology Editor
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Responding to reports that Amazon is planning to expand the footprint of its Amazon Go cashierless convenience stores to 3,000 locations, United Food and Commercial Workers Union President Marc Perrone urged elected officials to "wake up to the economic threat" posed by the ecommerce giant.

"Make no mistake: Creating cashierless stores is not about convenience; rather, it is about greed," he stated. "Jeff Bezos and Amazon are deploying a business model that poses an existential threat to millions of American jobs, and it's time we are honest about the devastating impact this will have on our nation and tens of millions of hardworking families."

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Last week, Bloomberg reported that Amazon is planning to operate 3,000 Amazon Go stores by 2021, citing people familiar with the matter. Jeff Bezos, according to the news outlet, said he sees himself "eliminating mealtime logjams in busy cities as the best way" to transform the brick-and-mortar shopping experience.

Amazon opened the first Amazon Go store to the public earlier this year, in its hometown of Seattle, following a 10-month delay due to problems with the grocery technology involved, which is similar to that used in driverless cars. Since then, it has opened two more stores in Seattle, and opened a fourth last week in Chicago. It has at least three more planned: another for Chicago, and one each for New York and San Francisco.

But Amazon isn't the only retailer seeking to implement cashierless technology in stores. Other retailers and technology companies are currently either planning or operating similar stores to Amazon Go. Albertsons already has spoken of plans for a similar format, while two San Francisco-based technology companies – Zippin and Standard Cognition – have opened concepts in their hometown.

Currently, Amazon Go stores and its counterparts are smaller-format locations that pose a greater threat toward grab-and-go joints and fast-casual restaurants. However, one would be remiss to think such technology, as it becomes more sophisticated and accurate when used in larger settings, would not be used in full-size grocery stores.

Amazon, through its Whole Foods stores, is No. 8 on Progressive Grocer's Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.

About the Author

Randy Hofbauer is the former digital and technology editor of Progressive Grocer. He has more than a decade of experience as a content strategist, researcher and marketer, almost all of it covering CPG retailing. His insights and work have been cited in a nu Read More