After an aggressive year that saw Amazon open various physical retail locations, including significant expansion of its Go storefronts, it appears the online giant is now targeting airports. A new report from Reuters this morning claims that Amazon is looking to shake up the travel scene. After what feels like years of minimal innovation and rising prices for travelers, Amazon’s autonomous shopping technology may be just the right fit for airports across the United States.
So how do Amazon and air travel fit together? Head below for more.
What is Amazon Go?
After Amazon first unveiled its beta Go autonomous grocery store in Seattle last year, I had the privilege of getting a tour. Amazon is largely reimagining the grocery shopping experience by eliminating many of the hangups that raise prices and costs consumers additional time in their commute. Sound familiar, frequent fliers?
Go grocery stores eliminate the need for extensive staffing by using smartphone technology to automatically track which items have been taken off a shelf. That same technology pairs items with shoppers and get them on their way faster than ever before.
Early success of the Seattle storefront has caused Amazon to unveil more Go locations in San Francisco and Seattle. That’s alongside the expansion of its bookstores that only feature top-rated goods previously sold online.
Amazon Go and Airports
Of course, Amazon Go grocery stores are a natural fit for airports. Standard airport retail stores are often just as frustrating for shoppers as flying itself. Prices are almost always unreasonably marked up, and it can be a pain to get through lines while waiting anxiously for your flight.
Amazon’s retail stores largely solve both of those issues on the surface. There will likely be some headaches to sort out, as Amazon controls all aspects of its retail space, whereas any airport location will have additional hoops to jump through.
Nonetheless, autonomous shopping is perfect for travel and Amazon’s early interest in an LAX location makes sense. Amazon already has a heavy West Coast presence with its retail stores so starting in California is a logical step.
Amazon continues to be aggressive with its expansion into various categories and we’re expecting much of the same in 2019. Of course, there are natural concerns for other retailers as Amazon continues to creep into new markets. Hopefully this will spurn competitors to continue to think outside the box and take on new ventures while Amazon puts on the pressure.