Now it is adding a low-tech feature: accepting money.
Its new shop opening in New York City Tuesday will be the initial Amazon Go store to achieve that. At its other stores, customers can only enter with an app that links to a credit card or an Amazon account.
The company, confronting backlash from critics who say cashless shops discriminate against the poor, confirmed last month that it was working on a means to accept paper coins and bill.
In the new store, worker will swipe individuals who want to pay by cash through the turnstile entry. After shoppers catch what they need off the shelves, then an employee will scan each item with a cellular device and test them out. There still won’t be cash registers in the store.
Cameron Janes, who manages Amazon’s physical shops, says how it takes money could change in the future, but declined to provide specifics.
“This is how we’re starting,” he states. “We’re going to learn from customers on what works and what doesn’t work and then iterate and improve it over time.”
In the last few years, a small but growing number of stores around the country have gone cash-free. But some activists and politicians say that discriminates against individuals who don’t possess a bank account.
New Jersey passed a statewide ban shortly after, and similar laws have been considered in nyc and San Francisco.
It’s not clear how many shoppers will skip the app and want to pay by cash at Amazon Go. The New York store, the first in town, is at Brookfield Place, a luxury shopping mall and office complex that houses a Gucci store and office employees from banks and credit card companies. Amazon expects a lot of its clients to be employees seeking to pick up a lunchtime salad or sandwich, people who live in the area or vacationers visiting the nearby World Trade Center.