Amazon Go, Amazon's registerless stores, will be accepting cash in some form after all. The elitist flair of the shops has been heavily criticised and various cities and states in the US actually forbid cash-free stores.
New payment methods
Amazon Go will be adding new payment methods to its store concept. Using Amazon Cash, users can add cash to a digital account by bringing it to a local store such as 7-Eleven or CVS. Amazon is also experimenting with SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programme). The government-backed support programme offers benefits to people on a low income through an electronic allowance card. The card can be used just like a bank card to buy certain groceries in recognised stores. The expectation is for other payment methods to be added to the list, but no further details or timetables have been revealed.
The acceptance of cash could bring an end to the criticism that Amazon's registerless model is discriminating and doesn't serve a large portion of American households. Simultaneously, it could expand Amazon Go's clientele considerably. Ever more cities and states have come out with laws demanding the acceptance of cash money to meet the needs of people who don't have a bank account. That would be about 6.5 percent (roughly 8.4 million) of American households. Philadelpia was the first major American city to outlaw cash-free shops last month. The state of New Jersey followed a few weeks afterwards and cities such as New York, San Francisco and Chicago have been considering similar laws. Stores in Massachussets have been operating under the obligation to accept cash for decades.
Amazon Go, which opened to the public back in 2018, has no registers or checkout queues. The stores automatically detect the products people collect and bill them when they leave the shop. The Amazon Go app is connected to a bank or credit card.
Currently, there are ten Amazon Go stores and their total revenue is estimated to be around 15 million dollars (13 million euros) every year. It would take two more years to reach the break-even point. By targeting various income groups, Amazon may get access to a new market of several million dollars.