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Smaller Amazon Go store tested in Seattle as retailer eyes new venues

UPDATED: Thu., Dec. 13, 2018

A customer scans his Amazon Go cellphone app at the entrance as he heads into a standard-size Amazon Go store, Monday, Jan. 22, 2018, in Seattle. (Elaine Thompson / AP)
A customer scans his Amazon Go cellphone app at the entrance as he heads into a standard-size Amazon Go store, Monday, Jan. 22, 2018, in Seattle. (Elaine Thompson / AP)
By Benjamin Romano Seattle Times

Amazon continues its experiments with new physical retail formats and technologies, this time with a shrunken version of its no-checkout convenience stores.

The company on Wednesday opened a 450-square-foot Amazon Go store – about a quarter the size of existing Go stores – on the sixth floor of the Macy’s department-store building in downtown Seattle. Amazon began leasing the top six floors of the landmark retail location in 2017, securing room for some 1,500 employees.

The Amazon Go store is only open to company employees and their guests. It follows three existing Go stores in Seattle – including the first, which opened in January – and others planned in at least three major U.S. cities.

The small-format Go store follows reports that Amazon is testing its cashierless technology – a system of cameras, sensors and a company smartphone app that enables payment via an Amazon account – in larger retail settings.

The company is also now looking at airports, hospitals and office buildings for the Go format – and the smaller version introduced in Seattle could be a stab at a solution for those spaces.

Bloomberg News reported in September that Amazon was contemplating as many as 3,000 Go stores by 2021, though earlier reports of such ambitious plans have been denied by the company.

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