FYI: Amazon's corner stores scan your plates

Convenience shops want to know when you're driving up

License plates

Amazon is reportedly looking to launch a series of small convenience stores that will offer onsite pickups of merchandise ordered online, and will scan the license plates of approaching drivers.

A report from The Wall Street Journal cites sources familiar in claiming that the online retail giant is not only planning to expand its operations into brick-and-mortar storefronts, but will also be using plate-scanning tools to speed up wait times.

Scanning plates will allow the store to know when a customer is approaching so they can ready the order for pickup. This, in turn, will reduce wait times for the service.

The reduced wait times may not, however, be enough to convince privacy-conscious customers to let Amazon scan and store their license plate information.

Dubbed "Project Como," the convenience stores are believed to be part of an effort by Amazon to build on the AmazonFresh delivery service. By adding pickup locations to the delivery options, Amazon could both expand its reach and attract new customers to the subscription service.

This report also comes as Amazon faces a legal challenge to AmazonFresh. Some drivers are pushing a class action suit seeking back pay and benefits related to their contested job status.

Amazon, which declined to comment on the report or speculation over its store plans, has been connected to a number of tests on new ways to make deliveries. Most notable is the use of drones to fulfill package orders for online customers – though that system is on hold as Amazon tries to work out ongoing concerns from the Federal Aviation Administration.

For deliveries on a much larger scale, Amazon is also looking to break new ground by building its own freight shipping fleet. ®


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