Amazon Go's New York store opens its doors — to cash

Register now

Caving to pressure from lawmakers who recently cracked down on stores that eschew cash, Amazon has altered its business model to accept cash at its newest Amazon Go convenience stores and bookstores.

The first Amazon Go store opening in New York this week has a cashier to handle the check-ins and checkouts of customers paying with cash, upending the all-digital shopping and checkout process Amazon pioneered over the last two years with its Amazon Go stores in San Francisco and Seattle.

Amazon also is now accepting cash at its Amazon Books outlet in Paramus, N.J. in response to a statewide ban on cashless businesses that went into effect in New Jersey in March.

Amazon’s shift in strategy positions it to be in compliance with similar laws in effect or proposed in Philadelphia, New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Washington, D.C. — all key markets where Amazon plans to expand its brick-and-mortar stores.

Amazon Go shoppers typically use a proprietary app to check into the store, then participate in a hands-free shopping and checkout experience. Technology and cameras within the small-footprint stores track the items consumers picks up for purchase, with payment handled automatically after the consumer exits.

The new process disrupts that flow. A clerk scans cash-paying customers into the store, and customers receive a paper-based receipt after handing over their cash.

Amazon on Tuesday began accepting cash at its Amazon Books and Amazon 4-Star stores in New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey, and the company plans to accept cash at all Amazon Go stores over time, an Amazon spokesperson said.

The new Amazon Go store in downtown New York is its 12th Amazon Go location. The Seattle-based online retail giant has said it plans to roll out up to 3,000 Amazon Go stores across the U.S., primarily in zones with high pedestrian traffic.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.