Amazon Go, the retail store that uses cashierless technology so you can walk in, choose your items, and walk out without stopping to pay, has 338 open listings on its job site (big h/t to Sean Butler).
There are a few takeaways from this, but most notable is the sheer amount of investment in engineers on both the software and hardware side. There are a whopping 130 positions in software development, and 44 in hardware development.
But that’s just the start. While the majority of the listings are for Software Engineers, listings also include everything from Data Collection Technician to Creative Director to Security Engineer to Senior Vision Research Scientist. There are even 7 listings for real estate and construction positions, Whew!
They’re also searching for a Specification Technologist to join the Amazon Meal Kits team and help out with product development. Meal kits are already some of the most popular items at Go stores, so it’s not surprising that Amazon is looking to amp up its offerings, especially as they expand into new cities.
Many of the jobs are quite recent, and were either posted or updated within the past month. Which means that Amazon is poised to make some serious Amazon Go expansion moves in the new year, and willing to invest some serious man (and woman) power to do it. Good thing too, since the company is considering a plan to open 3,000 Go stores by 2021.
It’s also worth noting where the Go jobs are located. While the locations don’t necessary indicate where Amazon will set up future Go stores, it’s a good data point to learn where they will base R&D and development of their cashierless technology.
In the U.S. there are openings in Seattle (duh), Westborough, MA, San Francisco, and New York City. Abroad, there are listings in two cities in Israel: Tel Aviv and Haifa.
Perhaps most eye-catching on the list is Westborough, MA. That’s the home of Amazon Robotics, a subsidiary which works on Amazon’s mobile robotic fulfillment systems. According to job descriptions, that’s also where Amazon is building an Advanced Projects Group, which will develop “new technologies that go well beyond the current state of the art.”
The location is certainly strategic from a hiring standpoint: Westborough is less than an hour outside of Boston, making it an easy way to recruit tech-savvy post-grads from MIT and Harvard. I’m speculating here, but the Westborough job listings, with its proximity to Amazon Robotics, could also indicate plans on Amazon’s part to add more robots to its Go store experience.
Outside of the U.S., Amazon Go is hiring in Israel. This could simply be a way for Amazon to take advantage of Israel’s flourishing AI landscape and hire some top-notch computer scientists. But it could also indicate that Amazon is ready to expand its Go stores internationally.
It wouldn’t be the first company to bring cashierless tech Israel. Trigo Vision recently partnered with Israel’s largest supermarket chain Shufersal to implement its checkout-free tech in all locations across Israel. However, Trigo Vision and Amazon aren’t direct competitors: Trigo licenses out its tech to existing retailers, while Amazon builds its Go stores from the ground up.
Of course, even outside of Israel Amazon still has plenty of competition in the cashierless tech space. Microsoft has been working on its own version and has reportedly been in partnership talks with Walmart. In San Francisco, Aipoly is developing its own walk-in-walk-out store solution and Standard Cognition recently opened up a store in San Francisco to show off its technology.
Which is all the more reason that Amazon needs to grow fast if it wants to keep up its unique value proposition in the food retail space. The high number of job listings, and their wide geographic reach, show that when it comes to Go stores (and most things grocery, in fact), Amazon isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Now we just have to wait and see when they launch a cashierless Whole Foods.