Amazon has opened its 12th Amazon Go store in New York City, its first location outside of Seattle, San Francisco, and Chicago, according to CNBC.

Amazon Go NYC
Amazon Go’s first New York City location
Business Insider Intelligence

The format allows consumers to walk in, grab the items they want, and leave without stopping to physically check out by having them scan an app when they enter, tracking what items they take with cameras and sensors, and then charging them when they exit.

The New York location is the first Amazon Go store that will enable consumers to pay with cash if they choose to.

Here’s what it means: Adding the ability to accept cash allows Amazon to expand Go stores without needing to worry about regulations banning cashless stores.

  • Amazon reportedly has big plans for its Go stores, but concerns about cashless stores have threatened their viability. The e-commerce giant is said to be interested in opening 3,000 Amazon Go stores over the next few years, but a number of US city and state governments — including San Francisco, where there are already three Go stores — are considering banning cashless stores, with some already enacting laws to do so.
  • Since the NYC Amazon Go store can accept cash, the threat to these stores’ ability to operate and expand has likely been mitigated.At the new location, consumers who prefer to pay in cash and coin can have a store employee scan them into the store (Go stores have turnstiles that open when a consumer scans their app, so this is necessary to gain entry). After these shoppers pick their items, an employee will scan their items and check them out, according to NBC New York. It’s unknown if Amazon will introduce the option to pay in cash at its other Go stores, though it likely will to avoid cashless bans, and the company may change its process for accepting cash over time. Regardless of its future plans for the process, adding the option to pay in cash should allow Amazon Go to expand as the company sees fit.
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The bigger picture: The new Amazon Go method for paying in cash is not convenient like it is for cashless shoppers, opening the door for competitors.

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Shoppers paying in cash need to get help from employees twice and must wait for their items to be scanned, likely making Amazon Go an unattractive option for them. This will likely drive these shoppers away from Amazon Go, making it a less attractive format for other retailers that would like to mimic it or pay Amazon to use its technology.

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And with autonomous checkout startup Standard Cognition offering easier cash payments in a cashierless store — consumers pay at a kiosk that knows what items they have thanks to the store’s cameras, so there’s no scanning necessary, and there’s no barrier to entry — Amazon may end up being outclassed in the space if it doesn’t improve its process.

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