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Amazon is bringing its cashierless Go convenience stores to the suburbs to capture work-from-home shoppers

Business Insider logo Business Insider 1/25/2022 (Mary Hanbury)
A rendering of a suburban Amazon Go store. Amazon © Provided by Business Insider A rendering of a suburban Amazon Go store. Amazon
  • Amazon said Tuesday it plans to open cashierless Amazon Go stores in the US suburbs.
  • Until now, Go stores were reserved for urban centres such as Chicago, New York, and Seattle.
  • Opening in the suburbs will allow Amazon Go to capture more work-from-home shoppers.

Amazon is bringing Amazon Go, its cashierless convenience store, to America's suburbs.

The e-commerce giant will open an Amazon Go store in Mill Creek, Washington state, over the next few months, a spokesperson told Insider on Tuesday. Mill Creek is about 20 miles northeast of Seattle and has a population of around 20,000.

Amazon will also open an Amazon Go store in the LA metro area in the next few months, the spokesperson said.

Amazon introduced its cashierless Go store in 2016. The store allows shoppers to fill their baskets and then leave without having to go through a checkout aisle. Checkout is automated using an app.

Amazon's decision to open Amazon Go stores outside city centers and away from working hubs comes as consumers spend less time in the office and more time working from home. At present, Amazon has Go stores in busy cities such as New York, Chicago, and Seattle.

Video: U.S. shoppers face empty shelves amid supply woes (Reuters)

The new stores will be similar to other Amazon Go locations, offering mostly grab-and-go food items along with some everyday essentials. They'll also offer the same cashierless shopping experience. 

The suburban locations will be larger, though, at around 6,000 square feet versus the 1,000 to 2,000 square feet of urban Go stores.

Since the 2016 launch, Amazon has significantly cut back on the cost of the technology used to run Go stores. According to an internal document from August, which was reviewed by Insider's Eugene Kim, Amazon estimated that the cost of the technology behind a 1,000-square-foot Go cashierless store has dropped by 96% since 2017, from $4 million to $159,000.

This decline in cost is important in allowing Amazon roll out more Go stores in the US and beef up its brick-and-mortar presence, Kim said.

Amazon has also been expanding its Amazon Fresh grocery business in the US. Fresh stores, which are larger in size than Go stores and have a wider, lower-cost assortment of products, put the retailer closer in competition with Walmart. 

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