Amazon Debuts Mini Version of Cashier-less Go Store in Seattle
It's only 450 square feet.
A little less than a year ago, Amazon made headlines when the ecommerce giant opened an actual brick-and-mortar grocery store in Seattle. The twist being that there are no cashiers or checkout lines. Instead, the Amazon Go shop employs a "just walk out" model, where you go in, grab what you need, and leave—hidden cameras and sensors track every item you exit with. It would almost feel like shoplifting, if it weren't for the fact that you need to download an app—one that links to your credit card, and lets you know how much time you spend browsing—before you enter the store. (To get in, you scan your smartphone at a turnstile.)
After following up that first location with two additional Seattle branches, a San Francisco store, and three Chicago outposts, Amazon has returned to its hometown to test a new, small-format Go—a 450-square-foot freestanding structure with its own enclosed ceiling (that's where most of those hidden cameras and sensors are). For comparison, a typical Go store is about 2,000 square feet.
Amazon says the new mini Go mainly stocks pre-made breakfast, lunch, and dinner items, as well as snacks. If it's anything like its older siblings, that translates to grab-and-go soups, sandwiches and salads, and upscale convenience store fare like Coolhaus Ice Cream sandwiches (along with more standard picks like Goldfish crackers and Diet Coke).
Last week, Reuters reported that Amazon was looking to bring small-format Go stores to airports—over the summer, the company met with both the Los Angeles International Airport and the San Jose International Airport, although an Amazon spokesperson has declined to comment on future plans. An airport does seem like a natural fit, though—busy travelers would be able to literally grab what they need and run.
This is just a small part of Amazon's plan—founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is said to be working on a vast expansion of the Go store concept, Bloomberg reports, and is aiming to open 50 locations by the end of 2019, and 3,000 by 2021.