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Cashier-less Amazon Go stores at airports? It could happen

Amazon Go customers simply walk out of the store without waiting in line after shopping. (File photo)

SEATTLE - Amazon is reportedly exploring the idea of opening its checkout-free Amazon Go stores in airports around the country, according to media reports and public records.

Several tech- and business-oriented news sites are reporting that the Seattle-based online retailer has contacted a number of U.S. airports about the concept, including Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and San Jose International Airport.

Seven Amazon Go stores are currently in operation, including three in Seattle. Others are located in Chicago and San Francisco.

To use the store, shoppers need to download the Amazon Go app on their smartphone. Cameras and computers in the store keep track of shoppers' purchases as they walk through the store, allowing them to grab what they need and simply walk out without waiting in line. Amazon then bills their credit cards on file.

The Go stores currently in operation specialize in "grab-and-go" style food products, but could be configured to offer additional products of use to time-pressed travelers waiting to board a flight.

The expansion of the Go concept to airports would allow Amazon to keep moving beyond its online roots and expand further into the world of brick-and-mortar retail - just as it did with the purchase of Whole Foods.

And it would give Amazon the opportunity to expose its brand to the millions of people who pass through major U.S. airports each year and sign them up for the Amazon Go app.

Don't expect to see a Go store at an airport anytime soon, though. The company would have to go through a separate competitive bidding process for each potential location before it could happen. And ultimately Amazon may decide that the concept wouldn't be workable. But airport officials are clearly interested.

For now, the company isn't commenting.

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