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Amazon today is opening its first checkout-free Amazon Go store in New York City, in the downtown-Wall Street area, and reports say that it will be the first Go store to be able to take cash.

The Associated Press reports that “in the new store, employees will swipe those who want to pay by cash through the turnstile entrance. After shoppers grab what they want off the shelves, an employee will scan each item with a mobile device and check them out. There still won’t be cash registers in the store.

“Cameron Janes, who oversees Amazon’s physical stores, says the way it accepts cash could change in the future, but declined to give details … ’We’re going to learn from customers on what works and what doesn’t work and then iterate and improve it over time’.”

The AP goes on: “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 the city, is in Brookfield Place, a high-end shopping mall and office complex that houses a Gucci store and office workers from banks and credit card companies. Amazon expects many of its customers to be workers looking to pick up a lunchtime salad or sandwich, people who live in the area or tourists visiting the nearby World Trade Center.”

This is the 12th Amazon store overall. The others are in Seattle, San Francisco and Chicago.
KC's View:
I appreciate the fact that the folks at Amazon are sensitive to criticisms that checkout-free stores unfairly exclude people who don’t have credit cards, and they certainly don’t want to add fuel to the legislative fires in some places that are pushing for laws that would ban stores that don’t take cash.

I’m not nearly as smart as the folks at Amazon, but it might’ve been interesting to test a different approach, like making the stores only accessible to people who are members of Amazon Prime. Not sure what the response would’ve been, but it would have been interesting.

As it is, we’ll have to see how compelling the format is to people who have to stop for a more conventional checkout experience.