The new store will again offer Amazon account holders a 'grab and go' shopping experience.

By Daniel Herborn


Posted on July 5, 2018

The future of retail is here, or in Seattle at least, with Amazon committing to build its second store without cashiers or check-out lines. The new store will be located less than two kilometres from the first Amazon Go

The second store will be much larger however, with around 900 square metres of floor space compared to approximately 550 square metres at the first store. The first store offers grocery staples, baked goods, meal kits and a small selection of wine and beer.

The second Amazon Go is expected to open around September and will be located in Madison Centre in Seattle’s downtown district.

The initial store operated on a trial basis for more than a year with only Amazon employees having access. It finally opened to the public with much fanfare earlier in 2018.

It has proved a hit with customers and its novelty has made it something of a tourist attraction. In an ironic twist the technology intended to eliminate lines at the check-out has been embraced to the point that there were sometimes queues to get into the store.

The concept has been criticised by some unions and workforce advocates who see it as having the potential to wipe out jobs in the retail sector.

Amazon scaling up and moving into bricks and mortar retailing

Now the second branch of the Amazon Go concept will see Amazon faced with the challenge of scaling up its technology for the experimental retail format.

Customers gain access to the store by scanning a unique QR code in their Amazon Go app on their smartphone. The store then uses a network of hundreds of cameras and sensors to detect what shoppers take from the store. The purchases are then automatically added to the customer’s Amazon account without any check-out process. While the point of sale process is completely automated the shop is not completely unstaffed as there are some associates on hand to answer questions and generally assist customers with purchases.

Amazon has previously announced plans to build further Amazon Go stores in Chicago and San Francisco. Recode has reported that Amazon plans to build at least six of the stores, with Los Angeles also earmarked as a possible location.

The introduction of more Amazon Go stores signals the company’s ambitions to broaden its footprint in bricks-and-mortar retail albeit with an experimental new form of shopping. Last year, the company made its biggest retail acquisition to date when it acquired Whole Foods in a US$13.7 billion deal.

Earlier this year, JP Morgan predicted that Amazon would become the first company to reach the US$1 trillion mark as it becomes more involved in the online advertising market.

British groceries retailer Tesco has also recently started trialling a system where shoppers use an app rather than a check-out to complete purchases. Retail analysts have voiced concerns over whether higher rates of shoplifting in automated stores may erode profit gains brought about by eliminating tills.

Amazon Founder and CEO remains the world’s wealthiest person with a net worth of US$112 billion.