That’s what Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos appears to be thinking, as his Seattle-based web giant has contemplated a two-story, automated grocery store in which a staff of robots on the floor upstairs grabs and bags items for shoppers below, reports The Sun.
The grocery industry in the United States employs over 2.5 million people, and Bezos could care less. As long as his robot-driven company makes him richer, screw the workers.
“Amazon will utilise technology to minimise labor,” a source close to the situation told The Post.
Job-cutting technology isn’t new for Amazon, which has increasingly used robots to automate its distribution warehouses.
More recently, it has been pioneering the use of drones to deliver packages instead of humans, and even filing patents for unmanned blimps that would serve as flying warehouses.
In the case of Amazon’s automated retail prototype, a half-dozen workers could staff an average location. A manager’s duties would include signing up customers for the “Amazon Fresh” grocery service. Another worker would restock shelves, and still another two would be stationed at “drive-thru” windows for customers picking up their groceries, fast-food style.
The last pair would work upstairs, helping the robots bag groceries to be sent down to customers on “dumbwaiter”-like conveyors, a source said.
With the bare-bones payroll, the boost to profits could be huge. Indeed, the prototype being discussed calls for operating profit margins north of 20 percent. That compares with an industry average of just 1.7 percent, according to the Food Marketing Institute.