Amazon Go launches first big format cashier-less store

Online retail giant Amazon is set to open its first big format cashier-less grocery store in the US today, a stone’s throw from its Seattle HQ, which includes a ‘sizeable’ beers, wines and spirits section.

The new 14,000-square-foot Amazon Go Grocery store in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighbourhood will feature the e-commerce’s proprietary cameras, sensors, and computer vision thereby eliminating the need for shoppers to use cash or card to pay for their purchases, although staff will be employed to greet and help shoppers, and also check ID in the beer, wine and spirits section.

Having launched its first store to the public in 2018, after a trial the previous year and a series of false starts, the e-tailer now operates a series of smaller format stores in 25 locations in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle. Currently, the stores sell a  variety of ready-to-eat and packaged foods including sandwiches, burritos, and sushi as well as packaged sodas and freshly brewed coffee and cold drinks at select locations, with some stores, including Seattle store on Seventh and Blanchard streets, licensed to sell liquor.

In November, the retail giant applied for an alcohol license at one of its Chicago stores, and 2019 saw it open bricks and mortar shop solely selling liquor in San Francisco and Los Angeles, although these were essentially shopfronts attached to its BWS warehouse, which enabled it to offer booze delivery to local Amazon Prime Now customers.

Amazon offers alcohol for delivery through its Amazon Prime service in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Manhattan, Brooklyn, St. Louis, and Washington, DC and sells liquor as well as through Whole Foods Markets, which it acquired in June 2017.

Amazon Go’s vice president Dilip Kumar told US tech newsite Recode that there were “no plans to put” the technology into its Whole Foods stores “for now”, saying it was focusing on the concept and seeing what customers think of it.

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