Amazon opens first small-format Go store
Amazon has opened another Go store in Seattle that is much smaller — only about 450 square feet — than its previous cashierless convenience stores, according to a Reuters report.
The newest Amazon Go store, the company's eighth overall, is located in one of Amazon's own offices. For now it is only open to Amazon employees, offering workers a selection of salads and snacks, the Reuters story stated.
An Amazon executive told Reuters that the smaller design would be aimed at office lobbies and small spaces inside buildings such as hospitals. The executive declined to comment on a recent Reuters report that suggested Amazon may target airports for new Go locations.
Though Amazon didn't directly comment on the possibility that a smaller store could be used in airports, a more compact footprint would address one of the potential constraints of operating in that environment.
Though shrinking the original design would mean limiting product selection, smaller Amazon Go stores could be even more laser-focused on addressing the needs of office workers and other consumers on the go.
Establishing a small format option for Amazon Go opens up the concept to potential deployment in many more types of locations than previously have been suggested, furthering the notion that the company has a plan to launch as many as 3,000 Amazon Go stores in the next few years.
As a competitive move, a small-format store design could make the giant even more of a threat to chains and independent proprietors that operate everything from small convenience stores to snack shops and food carts. Even though the store wasn't described as a pilot test, Amazon may still be evaluating revenue generation from an alternative format, and how size and limited product selection impacts foot traffic.
The National Association of Convenience Stores recently put out a study that stressed how important it is for convenience stores to embrace innovations like cashierless checkout in the Amazon Go era. 7-Eleven and other large chains are trying to make similar moves, even as Amazon is working out a small-format model that it can potentially replicate quickly.