Amazon Rethinks Footprint for Cashierless Amazon Go Stores

Amazon Go

Amazon is scaling back its cashierless Go stores, the latest in a series of cost cuts.

The move also comes as the giant retailer is tinkering with its physical grocery business.

“Like any physical retailer, we periodically assess our portfolio of stores and make optimization decisions along the way,” a company spokesperson told PYMNTS Monday (March 6). “In this case, we’ve decided to close a small number of Amazon Go stores in Seattle, New York City and San Francisco.”

“We remain committed to the Amazon Go format, operate more than 20 Amazon Go stores across the U.S., and will continue to learn which locations and features resonate most with customers as we keep evolving our Amazon Go stores.”

According to Seeking Alpha, Amazon will shutter eight Amazon Go locations: two in New York City, two in Seattle and four in San Francisco.

As reported here last month, the company has also opened two new Amazon Go stores in London that feature both its “Just Walk Out” cashierless tech as well as manned checkouts.

The news comes days after reports that Amazon was suspending construction on HQ2, its massive second headquarters in Northern Virginia.

And last year, the company put new openings of its Amazon Fresh grocery stores on hold, while shuttering existing stores.

However, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said last month the company was committed to breathing new life into its grocery business.

“We’re hopeful that in 2023, we have a format that we want to go big on, on the physical side,” he told the Financial Times. “We have a history of doing a lot of experimentation and doing it quickly. And then, when we find something that we like, doubling down on it, which is what we intend to do.”

Whatever the future of Amazon Go, PYMNTS has argued that cashierless checkout is retail’s next “new normal,” as 66% of retailers are investing in technology that streamlines their payment and checkout options.

“After two years of integrating eCommerce into their purchasing habits, shoppers are seeking new checkout experiences offering the same speed and convenience benefits as their digital shopping journeys,” we wrote last month. “Consumers in a 2022 study cited self-checkout as their most used technology for improving the physical shopping experience.”

And as noted here last month, many grocers have taken inspiration from Amazon’s “Just Walk Out” system, though this sort of system could take a while to catch on.

In an interview with PYMNTS, Jordan Fisher, CEO of autonomous retail technology firm Standard AI, argued that shifting consumer behavior requires a steady approach.

“When we rolled out shopping carts 60, 70, 80 years ago — it seems weird to think about, but before that, shoppers didn’t know how to use shopping carts, and grocers started putting them into their stores, and shoppers weren’t using them,” Fisher said. “What they ended up doing was, they started hiring actors to walk around the store with the shopping carts because it made it really clear to all the other shoppers that that’s what these are for.”