Amazon’s Supermarket Of The Future Could Have Just 3 Employees

Image courtesy of Mike Seyfang

Amazon’s latest forays into bricks-and-mortar businesses — the recently opened Amazon Go convenience store, and “click-and-collect” locations for online shoppers to pick up purchases — are intended to be staffed by as few people as possible. But can the company actually operate a full-size grocery store with just three humans?

The New York Post, citing sources close to the matter, reports that Amazon is now looking to add to its Amazon Go convenience store concept by creating a two-story, almost fully automated grocery store.

The sources caution that the project is still in prototype and may never actually come to fruition.

A rep for Amazon told the Post that it has no plans to build a store like this.

The prototype stores, which would range from 10,000 square feet to 40,000 square feet, would have two distinct levels, one for customers and one for the company’s robot employees, sources tell the New York Post.

The first floor would house as many as 4,000 items customers could easily grab, including fruit, vegetables, cereal, beer, and other items, the sources says, adding that the level could eventually feature pharmacies, as well.

The second floor would be dedicated to a fleet of robots working to complete the orders with a larger array of items that are not found on the lower level for customers shopping below.

Sources tell the New York Post that in addition to employing robots, the grocery stores would rely heavily on automation and technology. For example, there wouldn’t be traditional cash registers or checkout lanes. Instead, customer would pay for their orders on the Amazon app, which would be able to detect what items were added to a cart either through scanning or electronic sensors.

Because of this, the sources say that stores would employ between three and 10 actual humans. These positions would focus on stocking shelves, signing customers up for Amazon Fresh delivery, and loss-prevention.

UPDATE: A representative for Amazon sent the following statement via email — “As we told the New York Post, we have no plans to build such a store and their story is incorrect.”

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.