In a bold move that’s sending ripples through the retail industry, Amazon is bidding farewell to its cashierless convenience stores in the bustling streets of New York, San Francisco, and Seattle. The online behemoth, known for its innovation and relentless pursuit of customer convenience, is reevaluating its physical-store strategy, leading to the closure of nine of its Amazon Go stores this year.
This significant shift comes several years after the launch of Amazon’s cashierless concept, which revolutionized the retail experience with its groundbreaking “Just Walk Out” technology. Shoppers at these futuristic stores simply grab their desired items and stroll out, as a network of sophisticated cameras tracks their selections and seamlessly deducts the purchase amount from their Amazon accounts.
The latest casualty of this strategic overhaul is the Amazon Go store nestled in the heart of downtown Seattle, the second-ever of its kind, which bid its farewell on June 16, 2023. It’s a poignant moment for a store that opened its doors in 2018, introducing shoppers to a checkout-free utopia.
Amazon spokesperson Jessica Martin explained that the closure of this iconic location was part of a broader plan. “We’ve closed our 5th and Marion Seattle Amazon Go location, and are working closely with employees to find new opportunities within Amazon, including at other nearby stores,” she said. “We continue operating more than 20 Amazon Go stores across the U.S., and look forward to opening more in the future.”
This move is not entirely unexpected, as Amazon revealed in March its intention to permanently shutter eight Amazon Go stores effective April 1. The affected locations included two in New York, two in Seattle, and all four stores in San Francisco. Interestingly, the two Seattle stores had been temporarily closed for months due to unspecified “safety concerns” from Amazon, sparking curiosity and speculation.
Amazon has made it clear that these closures are part of an ongoing process of evaluating their brick-and-mortar experiments. “We periodically assess our portfolio of stores and make optimization decisions along the way,” explained an Amazon spokesperson. This statement underscores the company’s commitment to staying at the forefront of retail innovation.
While Amazon is closing the chapter on some of its physical retail experiments, it is not shying away from expanding its presence in other areas. Last year, the company made the tough decision to bid farewell to its Amazon Books, 4-Star, and Pop Up stores. In February, it also announced plans to close some Amazon Go stores and select Amazon Fresh supermarkets. In a bid to further optimize their footprint, Amazon has been seeking tenants to sublease some planned Amazon Fresh locations in the Midwest.
However, Amazon’s relentless pursuit of innovation hasn’t slowed down one bit. Despite the closures, the company has unveiled Amazon Style, a clothing store, and has big plans to accelerate the pace of new store openings for Whole Foods, the grocery chain acquired by Amazon in 2017.
For those curious about which Amazon Go stores have bowed out this year, here’s the list:
1. 110 Maiden Lane
2. 315 Park Ave South
1. 3 Embarcadero Center
2. 300 California Street
3. 575 Market Street, Ste. 150
4. 98 Post Street
1. 300 Pine Street
2. 1423 Fourth Avenue
3. 920 Fifth Avenue
In an ever-evolving retail landscape, Amazon’s moves are closely watched, and their next steps are poised to reshape the industry once again. As the retail giant continues to adapt and innovate, one thing remains clear: Amazon is unyielding in its quest to redefine the future of shopping.