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04/28/2022

Amazon Go Opens New Suburban Store Format

The location outside of Seattle offers an expanded selection of grab-and-go food and beverage items.
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A female customer at Amazon Go in Mill Creek, Wash.

SEATTLE — Amazon Go is no longer just for urban consumers.

Amazon recently opened an Amazon Go store in Mill Creek, Wash., making it the first of the retailer giant's checkout-free stores to ring up customers in the suburbs.

The store measures approximately 3,250 square feet in front-of-house and 6,150 square feet overall, reported Progressive Grocer, a sister publication of Convenience Store News.

The location features Amazon's Just Walk Out technology, and is designed to offer customers a quick shopping experience to pick up grab-and-go food, snacks and beverage items and a few everyday essentials. The retailer's Just Walk Out technology leverages a combination of computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning that enables shoppers to shop the store, pick out what they want and skip the checkout. When shoppers arrive, they open the Amazon app, tap "In-Store Code," and scan in with the QR code presented.

The new Amazon Go offers an expanded selection of grab-and-go food and beverage items, including a broader range of beer and wine, and everyday essential items. It also features a new made-to-order kitchen, which offers nearly 30 freshly prepared, customizable breakfast and lunch items, Progressive Grocer reported.

In addition, it has a selection of new specialty beverages and self-serve Pinkberry frozen yogurt, marking the first time Pinkberry is available in Washington state. Other offerings include a variety of new specialty beverages, including Starbucks freshly brewed coffee and espresso, and local food and beverage items.

Additional amenities include packageless returns and two Standard Level 2 Volta electric vehicle charging stations that are free for customers.

Moving to the Suburbs

Amazon announced in January that it was making the move into the suburbs. The population of Mill Creek, which is located northeast of Seattle, is just 20,000 people — much smaller than the cities in which Amazon currently operates its checkout-free stores.

The company's decision to move Amazon Go away from city centers and job hubs comes as consumers continue to work from home, either full time or in a hybrid model.

Costs also play a factor. The company reportedly estimated that the cost of technology required to operate a 1,000-square-foot Amazon Go store has declined 96 percent since 2017, dropping from $4 million to just $159,000, as Convenience Store News previously reported.

Another new Amazon Go store is slated to open in the Los Angeles metro area in the next few months.

Amazon debuted its Amazon Go format in Seattle in January 2018. It first opened the convenience-style store with Amazon employees only on Dec. 5, 2016, in a test phase. At the time, Amazon said it expected members of the public to begin shopping the store in early 2017. However, the retailer faced challenges along the way, like correctly identifying shoppers with similar body types, and children moving items to incorrect places.