The first Amazon Go location, at Day 1 in Seattle
|Founded||January 22, 2018|
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Number of locations
Amazon Go is a chain of convenience stores in the United States, operated by the online retailer Amazon. The stores are partially automated, with customers able to purchase products without being checked out by a cashier or using a self-checkout station. As of 2020, there are 27 open and announced store locations in Seattle, Chicago, San Francisco and New York City.
Amazon Go stores were conceptualized and tested by a team of Amazon executives, who constructed a 15,000-square-foot mock supermarket in a rented warehouse in Seattle, before revealing the work to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in 2015. The first store, located in the company's Day 1 building, opened to employees on December 5, 2016, and to the public on January 22, 2018. The flagship store sells products such as prepared foods, meal kits, limited groceries and liquor. A larger variant, Amazon Go Grocery, opened in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood on February 25, 2020. The following month Amazon began to offer its technology to other retailers so that their customers could make purchases without the involvement of cashiers or Amazon accounts.
Technology and implementation
Amazon uses several technologies to automate Go stores, including computer vision, deep learning algorithms, and sensor fusion for the purchase, checkout, and payment steps associated with a retail transaction. The store concept is seen as a revolutionary model that relies on the prevalence of smartphones and geofencing technology to streamline the customer experience, as well as supply chain and inventory management. However, public rollout of the Seattle Amazon Go prototype location was delayed due to issues with the sensors' ability to track multiple users or objects within the store, such as when children move items to other shelves or when more than one customer has a similar body habitus.
The Amazon Go app for iOS and Android links to their Amazon account and is the primary method of paying for items at the store, alongside cash at certain locations. The app is required to enter the store, which has turnstiles that scan a QR code generated on the app. The app allows users to add others to their Amazon account, so a family's purchases can be charged to the same bill. The ceiling of the store has multiple cameras and store shelves have weight sensors, to detect which item(s) a customer took. If a customer takes an item off the shelf, it will be added to the customer's virtual cart. Similarly, if a customer places an item back on the shelf, it is removed from the customer's virtual cart.
Amazon added a smart shopping cart called the Dash Cart to their new store in Los Angeles. The cart automatically detects the items put in it and calculates total cost using cameras, scale, weight sensors, and computer vision equipped on each shopping cart.[unreliable source?]
As of March 2020, there are 27 store locations (both established and announced) in the United States.
|#||City and state||Date of first store||Number of stores||Ref(s)|
January 22, 2018
September 17, 2018
|3||San Francisco, California||
October 23, 2018
|4||New York City, New York||
May 7, 2019
In its report on the opening of the first location, The Wall Street Journal said that Amazon planned to open at least three stores, each with a different format. In October 2016, Business Insider reported that they had seen internal Amazon documents detailing plans to open as many as 2,000 stores over the next ten years. This was refuted by an Amazon spokesman, who insisted the company was still learning.
The Verge reported that the first store was scheduled to open to the public in early January 2017, preceded by a December 2016 beta version for Amazon employees only. At 1,800 square feet (170 m2) it was only the size of a corner convenience store. By October 2017, the store had yet to open to the public due to issues with the technology tracking over 20 people at one time. The public opening finally took place on January 22, 2018.
In addition to stocking name brands and local brands, the store sells many of Amazon's house brands, such as Wickedly Prime and 365. Food stamps and public assistance for low income people are not accepted, nor are customers without smartphones, or with smartphones that do not have the Amazon Go app downloaded. A second Downtown Seattle location at the Madison Centre opened on August 27, 2018. The third Amazon Go store, at the Troy Block complex in South Lake Union, is the second largest at 2,100 square feet (200 m2) and opened in September 2018.
In May 2018, The Seattle Times reported that Amazon was planning to open Amazon Go stores in Chicago and San Francisco; and in September, it was confirmed that the company planned to open a store in New York City was confirmed. In September 2018, Amazon Go opened its first location outside of Seattle at the company's offices in the Chicago Loop. That same month, Bloomberg News reported Amazon was considering plans to open as many as 3,000 Amazon Go locations across the United States by 2021. An Amazon Go location was opened in San Francisco on October 23, 2018, at 98 Post Street.
In response to potential discrimination against low-income people, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and New Jersey have passed legislation banning cashless stores and retailers. A new Amazon Go store in New York City opened on May 7, 2019, with cash acceptance in response to previous criticism over the use of app-only purchases and its effects on the poor. In response to the legislation, stores in San Francisco also accept cash, with an attendant at the front letting in and checking out customers if they do not have the app.
On February 25, 2020, Amazon opened the first Amazon Go Grocery store in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood. The Go Grocery store is significantly larger than other Go stores, at 10,400 square feet (970 m2), and offers 5,000 items, including fresh produce and baked goods. A second Go Grocery location opened in September 2020 in the Overlake neighborhood of Redmond, Washington.
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Two days after The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon plans to open "more than 2,000 brick-and-mortar grocery stores under its name," the company knocked down the idea as false.
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