Amazon Opens Prototype 1,800 SF Checkout-Free Grocery Store in Seattle
SEATTLE — Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) has opened the first location of Amazon Go, an 1,800-square-foot mini grocery store in Seattle that allows customers to shop without waiting in checkout lines. The store was open exclusively to Amazon employees for the past year.
The store is located at 2131 7th Ave. near the corner of Blanchard Street, less than a mile from Pike Place Market and the e-commerce giant’s headquarters. It offers ready-to-eat meals and snacks prepared by Amazon chefs, as well as grocery staples and artisanal baked goods. The offerings also include chef-designed meal kits.
Shoppers must have an Amazon account and the Amazon Go app, the latter of which enables entry into the store. Once inside, customers shop as they normally would and then simply leave. While there are no cashiers, there are employees working in the store who prepare food and check IDs on purchases of alcoholic beverages.
The store employs inventory-tracking technologies featuring cameras and motion sensors that automatically detect items being removed or returned to shelves. Shortly after shoppers depart, they receive a digital receipt and charges to their Amazon account.
“Amazon has generally been regarded as a threat to conventional retail,” says Kenneth Katz, principal at Houston-based retail brokerage firm Baker Katz. “To see the company develop technology that has the potential to significantly enhance the brick-and-mortar experience is another indication that the future of traditional retail is very bright.”
Expansionary plans for the concept have not yet been released.
Amazon made major waves last June when the company announced it would acquire upscale grocery chain Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. The acquisition marked a noted increase in Amazon’s brick-and-mortar footprint, as well as its focus on grocery sales.
Amazon’s stock price closed at $1,294.58 per share on Friday, Jan. 19, up from $817.88 per share one year ago.
— Taylor Williams