Amazon will deploy thousands more robots in its warehouses this year

The e-retailer plans to have at least 10,000 warehouse robots in place in the coming months.

Thad Rueter

Amazon.com Inc. will put thousands more robots into its warehouses by the end of the year, CEO Jeff Bezos said this week at the e-retailer’s annual shareholder meeting in Seattle.

Amazon has some 1,300 robots working in its fulfillment centers now. That will increase to at least 10,000 by the end of 2014, a spokeswoman for the e-retailer says without providing further detail.

The deployment of the robotic logistical labor represents the fruit of Amazon’s $775 million purchase of Kiva Systems Inc. about two years ago. Kiva sells robotic warehouse technology that automates much of the fulfillment process. Kiva’s robots use software that instructs them how to find ordered products on portable racks and bring them to warehouse pick-and-pack stations. Such major e-retailers as Gilt Groupe Inc. (No. 59) in the Internet Retailer 2014 Top 500 Guide and Toys ‘R’ Us Inc.  (No. 34) have used Kiva technology.  

Amazon has been investing heavily in fulfillment and delivery. Earlier this month, Amazon announced it has expanded its Sunday deliveries to 15 cities. Amazon’s Local Express same-day delivery program operates in 11 cities and metropolitan areas; those areas command about  21% of the U.S. population. Amazon says it operates more than 40 U.S. distribution centers and 96 globally.

(The July issue of Internet Retailer magazine will feature a survey about e-commerce technology trends. Please click to take part in the short survey.)

Earlier this week, sources told Internet Retailer that Amazon, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, would expand its e-commerce site in Brazil to sell printed books. Amazon.com.br currently only sells Amazon’s Kindle electronic book readers and e-books that can be read on the Kindle.


Amazon, delivery, drone, fulfillment, Jeff Bezos, Kiva Systems Inc., Robot