Tiller is managed by a distributed team, but our base is in Seattle.
When the first cashier-free Amazon Go store opened in Seattle, Tiller team members Tim, Tom, Brasten, and Peter immediately went around the corner to check it out.
They went partly for the novelty, partly because they were hungry, and partly to see if a check-out free store might succeed.
Apparently, Amazon thinks it did succeed, as the e-commerce giant is now thinking of opening 3,000 cashierless stores by 2021. That’s a massive expansion – today, Amazon Go is open in just three locations — two in Seattle, and one in Chicago.
As reported on Bloomberg, “Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos sees eliminating meal-time logjams in busy cities as the best way for Amazon to reinvent the brick-and-mortar shopping experience, where most spending still occurs.”
Amazon continues to experiment with the best approach. That might be something closer to a typical convenience store experience, or more focused on quick bites and small take-out meals.
Shares of CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Target and Kroger predictably dropped Wednesday following the news.
While the huge scope of this expansion is surprising, perhaps it shouldn’t be. Back in January, GeekWire noted that Amazon “has listed on its jobs page more than 40 positions working on Amazon Go, covering everything from real estate and construction to food service to IT, suggesting an expansion of the cashier-free grocery concept.”
Like 75% of Americans, most of us at Tiller are frequent Amazon shoppers. (We’ve even described how to get your Amazon order line item details into a Google Sheet.) Also like most Americans, we debate and discuss the impact of Amazon on the local and national economy.
Our team has talked about the potential for an Amazon checking account. And we often discuss the company’s efficiency, leadership, and strategy.
For example, from this article, Tiller founder Peter Polson wrote on Slack that “I love that quote from Bezos: ‘Find the things that won’t change in your business and invest heavily in those things.’ For Tiller that’s spreadsheets. For Amazon’s…prices. Those things won’t change. And as a result, we’re seeing Amazon invest heavily in initiatives that align with those value propositions.”
Maybe that strategy has shifted from dominating on prices to dominating on… everything?
Video below is from a Tiller field trip earlier this year: