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04/26/2022

First Look: Amazon Go opens new suburban format

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Amazon Go has officially come to the suburbs.

Amazon is expanding the portfolio of its Amazon Go checkout-free convenience concept with a new format for suburban locations. The new format, which is still called Amazon Go, is now open in Mill Creek, Wash. Initially announced in January 2022, the store measures approximately 3,250 sq. ft. in front-of-house and 6,150 square feet overall.

The new Amazon Go features Amazon’s “Just Walk Out” technology, and is designed to offer customers a quick shopping experience to pick up grab-and-go food, snacks and beverage items and a few everyday essentials. The retailer’s Just Walk Out technology leverages a combination of computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning that enables shoppers to shop the store, pick out what they want and skip the checkout when they’re done. When shoppers arrive, they open the Amazon app, tap “In-Store Code,” and scan in with the QR code presented.

The new Amazon Go offers an expanded selection of grab-and-go food and beverage items, including a broader range of beer and wine, and everyday essential items. It also features a new made-to-order kitchen, which offers nearly 30 freshly prepared, customizable breakfast and lunch items.

In addition, this store offers a selection of new specialty beverages and self-serve Pinkberry frozen yogurt, marking the first time Pinkberry is available in Washington state. Other offerings include a variety of new specialty beverages, including Starbucks freshly brewed coffee and espresso, and local food and beverage items.

Further store amenities include packageless returns and two Standard Level 2 Volta electric vehicle charging stations that are free for customers to use. Amazon previously said it plans to open a second suburban Amazon Go store in the metro Los Angeles area.

Amazon opened the first Amazon Go in January 2018, in Seattle.  The concept has since expanded to 26 locations across the United States, including a “Starbucks Pickup with Amazon Go” location jointly operated with Starbucks in mid-town Manhattan. In addition, Amazon debuted Amazon Go Grocery, since rebranded to Amazon Fresh, in February 2020; and also operates an Amazon Fresh grocery store in the Ealing section of London.  

Beyond Amazon Go, Amazon has been busy developing store formats that leverage its Just Walk Out frictionless shopping platform. In August 2020, Amazon introduced a checkout-free grocery format called Amazon Fresh. The company designed the format from the ground up to offer a seamless shopping experience with extra perks for members of the Amazon Prime paid loyalty program.

Amazon now operates at least 28 Amazon Fresh stores across the U.S., including 14 in California, six in Illinois, three in Washington State, two in Virginia, and one each in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.

The company is also featuring leading-edge contactless shopping and payment options, including Just Walk Out and Amazon One, at its Climate Pledge Arena net-zero carbon-certified arena in Seattle. The Just Walk Out technology-enabled stores will sell beer, wine, soft drinks, coffee, water, and feature food offerings from The Climate Collective, the arena's food and beverage program. Customers purchasing alcohol will be required to show their ID to a store attendant for age verification.

In addition to being offered at Amazon Go convenience stores and Amazon Fresh grocery stores, Just Walk Out has also been licensed to other third-party retailers.