Last month word began to spread that a major change was coming to Amazon Go convenience stores. For the first time since its launch, these autonomous retail storefronts are set to begin accepting cash as payment. This week, that change is officially underway in New York City, with additional locations expected to follow in the coming months. When Amazon Go started its Seattle beta, one of the major concerns that arose from politicians and the like was whether the retail stores would exclude a subset of shoppers that were unable to obtain credit cards. Various cities across the United States have instituted cash-required laws that ensure this potential misstep will not occur. More details below.
Amazon Go begins accepting cash at select locations
Amazon is officially opening its twelfth Go storefront today, which is located on Vesey Street in New York. This is the first autonomous retail location for Amazon in New York. It also marks the first time that cash will be accepted as well.
Until this point, Amazon had required shoppers to download the Amazon Go app, which is a separate entity from its other apps. This was required prior to entering the store and worked as a means to complete cashless transactions. Amazon’s Go stores have integrated technology that knows when an item has been taken off the shelf, automatically billing shoppers simultaneously.
Does adding cash eliminate the autonomous aspect of Amazon Go?
Adding cash into the mix would seem to complicate this matter along with the entire idea of an autonomous storefront. Here’s how it’s going to work according to other reports circulating around today:
In the new store, employee will swipe those who want to pay by cash through the turnstile entrance. After shoppers grab what they want off the shelves, an employee will scan each item with a mobile device and check them out. There still won’t be cash registers in the store.
Cameron Janes, the face behind Amazon Go stores explains further:
“This is how we’re starting,” he says. “We’re going to learn from customers on what works and what doesn’t work and then iterate and improve it over time.”
Whether or not the cash trend will expand to other Amazon Go locations has yet to be seen. The 1,300-square foot New York store may simply be a testing ground for this new feature before it is rolled out to other locations. One thing is for sure, having someone checking shoppers at the door takes away from the futuristic aspect of Amazon Go.
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