Amazon opens first full-size Go store

Date : 26 February 2020

Rachel Sibson

Retail Analyst

Amazon has opened its first large format grocery store with Just Walk Out technology in Seattle. The store is 7,700 square feet in the front of the house and 10,400 square feet overall, making it the largest use of Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology to date.

Amazon Go Grocery

In January 2018, Amazon opened its new Amazon Go concept in Seattle to the general public, marking the first checkout-free, 'just walk out' store concept to be developed by a major retailer. Before its launch to the public, the store opened to Amazon staff for trial in 2017. The Amazon Go concept has since been rolled out to a further 25 locations in the US.

Amazon Go Grocery is the retailer’s first large format grocery store, using the same Just Walk Out technology that is featured in the retailer’s smaller Amazon Go stores. In December 2018, Amazon opened a compact version of its Go store, located in Amazon’s Seattle offices, at 450 square feet. Comparatively, the original Amazon Go store, is 1,800 square feet.

Source: Amazon Go Grocery website

Range of 5,000 products

The store is stocked with about 5,000 items ranging from fresh fruits and vegetables that change with the seasons, and a selection of quality beef, pork, poultry, and seafood. The store also stocks a selection of local artisan breads, cheese, and baked goods from local kitchens and bakeries from around the city and region. Shoppers will also find ready-to-heat and ready-to-cook meals for dinner tonight and a great selection of beer, wine, spirits, and more.

At the time of opening on 25 February 2020, Amazon was highlighting low prices and weekly specials available in the store.

Just walk out technology

Shoppers need an Amazon account and the free Amazon Go app. Like the existing Amazon Go stores, when shoppers arrive at the Amazon Go Grocery they scan the QR code from the app at the gate to enter the store.

Amazon’s Just Walk Out Technology automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart. When shoppers are finished, they can just leave the store. Later, they will receive a receipt and their Amazon account will be charged.

Amazon says it is possible to shop as a family, or with friends in the store. The person paying for the shop simply uses the QR code in their Amazon Go app to scan in each friend or family member at the gate, and then scan again for them to enter. 

The greatest currency is time

We identified ‘the greatest currency is time’ as one of our five global retail trends we expect will develop and shape the global retail market over the next 12 months and in the future. A priority for retailers is to make shopping as simple as possible, so people feel they’re making the best possible use of their time. To help shoppers save time at checkout we expect to see many more checkout free solutions rolled out.

Since Amazon launched its Go stores in 2018, a series of similar developments have been announced in the UK and beyond. Some examples include:

  • In October 2019, Tesco announced its investment in checkout-free start-up company, Trigo Vision, to trial cashierless technology at its Tesco Express store at its Welwyn Garden City headquarters
  • GS25, a leading convenience store chain in South Korea, opened an unmanned store similar to Amazon Go in January 2020
  • Most recently, in Japan, Lawson launched a checkout-free convenience store in Fujitsu Ltd. office building in Kawasaki. Lawson will monitor the stores' operations until the end of May before opening a similar store to the general public this summer

Keep up to date with developments at Amazon

See the latest Amazon news here and IGD Retail Analysis subscribers can learn more from our Amazon Strategic Outlook presentation.