Amazon opened its 12th Amazon Go store earlier this month, featuring “just-walk-out” technology that uses sensors and cameras to track what customers take off shelves and out of the store.
But Amazon remixed the format for its newest tech-heavy cashierless store, located in New York City. It has one of the smallest footprints of the Go fleet — 1,300 square feet — and offers shoppers a way to pay with cash. It is stocked to the brim with snacks.
In fact, the assortment of snacks and food that Go stores carry is one of the biggest ways they have evolved since the beginning.
“The story with snacks … was really kind of surprising for us,” Cameron Janes, Amazon’s vice president of physical stores, said to Business Insider. He noted that he predicted that the stores would be busy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and for those grabbing things on their way home.
“But what we realized is, because it’s so low-friction in shopping here, people are coming in really fast for snacks,” he said. “They’re coming at that snack time between lunch and when you leave for home.”
“People are coming in, they’re grabbing one thing, and then they leave,” he continued. “People [are] … kind of treating it like a vending machine.”
Some smaller food items have proven to be extremely popular. Amazon tried to pull its half-sandwich offerings from some Amazon Go stores in order to replace them with something else, but it was met with such pushback — Janes said customers “revolted” — that it had to bring them back.
Amazon added the time spent in-store for each trip onto the receipt so that customers could be aware. Janes would not share the average trip time for customers in Amazon Go stores, but the technology makes it so it can theoretically be as long or as short as customers wish it to be.
In his letter to investors in 2018, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos revealed the top-selling items for the small-footprint, convenience-oriented store. Items like coffee and water were popular, as would be expected at a store of this kind.
But it’s the prepared food and snack items — chicken banh mi sandwiches, chocolate chip cookies, and pre-cut fruit — that are keeping customers coming back. Gummy bears were another snack favorite, according to Bezos’ letter.