Amazon has posted a job opening for a senior real estate manager of Amazon Go, its cashierless convenience store concept, reported The Seattle Times, raising speculation that Amazon is ready to expand Amazon Go beyond its current pilot phase.
Amazon posted the opening on its corporate jobs site along a description of Amazon Go, and a list of job responsibilities, some of which included developing and executing “a strategic real estate plan;” taking responsibility for “site selection and acquisition;” and coordinating “with local real estate brokers on potential opportunities;” among several other duties.
For now, the e-commerce giant continues to test Amazon Go with employees at its corporate headquarters. Initial reports suggested additional locations would open to the public in early 2017.
This quiet move — it wasn't formally announced — seems like an obvious and necessary step if Amazon plans to expand the checkout-free grocery concept. Amazon Go has fueled much speculation about whether it could work in the broader market, and how quickly. That Amazon is looking for someone with these skills, and looking for that person now, is a nod to the affirmative.
Since the concept was announced late last year, the company that disrupted retail, logistics and fulfillment and virtual assistance, among other things, is considered the emerging disrupter of the grocery sector. Early on it seemed as if Amazon Go would get going very quickly, however reports surfaced in March that Amazon was having some technology problems with the pilot store, delaying any further public expansion for the time being.
A job posting is not the same as an update from Amazon on the status of Amazon Go. It's true that Amazon's plan to hire about 100,000 full-time employees across the country shows how aggressively it plans to pursue a brick-and-mortar strategy, but it's hard to foresee how Amazon Go is going to go without some sign from Amazon that it has overcome technology hiccups.
It sounds like whoever does get this job will have plenty of work ahead of them. In addition to the responsibilities mentioned above, there are many more, such as these two rather ominous sounding duties: "Own real estate playbook end-to-end while obtaining cross-functional alignment from various stakeholders on strategic real estate decisions," and "collaborate with architecture, construction, and engineering (ACE) teams to ensure successful store launch from the inception through the full development cycle."
It's clear that the senior real estate manager is going to help determine how quickly and effectively Amazon delivers on its Amazon Go vision — at whatever point Amazon Go is ready to become more than just a concept.