No bigger than a typical 7-Eleven store, Amazon Go stores feature such ready-made items as lunches, snacks, frozen dinners, beverages, and limited groceries. It promises no lines, no checkout counters, and better expediency.
The stores use hundreds of cameras and sensors to track customers and what they’ve picked up for purchase. The items then get charged to their Amazon Go account automatically as they exit.
While the process might appear convenient for a certain customers—i.e., credit card holders with smartphones who don’t rely on public benefits for food or groceries—Amazon Go doesn’t accept food stamps (also known as EBT cards) that are part of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Amazon also says it doesn’t use facial-recognition technology in its stores, currently one of the biggest issues facing public spaces, but its store cameras do include infrared sensors that can measure body heat.
There’s even a second, smaller San Francisco store in the works set to open this winter. According to Nick Statt of the Verge, “The company has already planned its second San Francisco location at a site basically around the corner from its current one, at 98 Post Street.”
The company has six other Amazon Go stores, three in Seattle, two in Chicago and one in San Francisco, the first of which launched beginning in 2016. As Recode reported earlier this year, Amazon is considering opening additional stores in the near future, including one in Los Angeles and one in New York City.