Amazon Opens First Big 'Go' Grocery Store in Seattle
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Amazon is opening another cashierless Go store today, but this one is different.
As Reuters reports, the new store is located in Seattle's Capitol Hill, but it differs to existing Go stores in two ways. The first is in name, as it's called Amazon Go Grocery. The second is in size, as it's roughly four times larger than the first Amazon Go location, which opened in early 2018, allowing it to stock a much wider variety of products.
The differences are due to Amazon targeting a different type of consumer. Typically, Go stores have been located and stocked to cater to the office worker who wants to quickly pop in for a handful of products or to grab lunch. This new Go Grocery store is aimed at "residential neighborhood" consumers and is an attempt to get more people selecting Amazon for their weekly grocery shop rather than just small purchases when at work.
Dilip Kumar, Amazon’s vice president of physical retail and technology, says one of the challenges of a larger store is dealing with how customers shop differently. For example, there's more interaction with products such as fruit, which is regularly picked up, looked at, and then put back. Amazon's cameras and technology needs to deal with that and detect when items are put back on the shelf.
As The Verge reports, Amazon is treating this new Go Grocery store differently to Go stores, with Kumar saying, "This is not a bigger Amazon Go store. It's a separate format. We worked backwards from what constitutes a neighborhood grocery store ... We have a section for pet food, household items, health and personal care, oral care, skin care."
Even though the store is much larger and offers a greater selection of products including items from Whole Foods, the same Amazon Go conveniences remain. There are no cashiers, customers simply use the Amazon Go app on their phone to enter the store and shop. When they leave, payment is automatically calculated and charged to their Amazon account.
Anyone choosing to use this new Go Grocery store should count themselves as part of a wider experiment that could eventually lead to the first supermarket-sized cashierless store appearing. That's assuming Amazon's tech can work on such a large scale and consumers keep coming back to buy more.