Now it is adding a low-tech attribute: accepting cash.
Its new store opening in New York City Tuesday is going to be the initial Amazon Go shop to do so. At its other shops, customers can only enter with a program that connects to a bank card or an Amazon account.
The company, facing backlash from critics that say cashless shops discriminate against the poor, confirmed last month that it was working on a way to accept paper coins and bill.
In the new shop, worker will swipe those who want to pay by cash through the turnstile entrance. After shoppers catch what they need off the shelves, then a worker will scan every item with a cellular device and check them out. There still won’t be cash registers in the store.
Cameron Janes, who oversees Amazon’s physical stores, says the way it accepts money could change later on, but declined to give details.
“This is the way we’re starting,” he says.
In recent years, a tiny but growing number of stores across the country have gone cash-free. However, some activists and politicians state that discriminates against individuals who do not possess a bank account.
New Jersey passed a statewide ban shortly after, and similar laws have been considered in New York City and San Francisco.
It’s not clear how many shoppers will skip the program and need to pay by cash at Amazon Go. The New York store, the first from the city, is in Brookfield Place, a luxury shopping mall and office complex that houses a Gucci store and office employees from banks and credit card firms. Amazon expects a lot of its customers to be employees looking to pick up a lunchtime sandwich or salad, individuals who live in the area or tourists visiting the nearby World Trade Center.