Amazon announced to employees this week that its “cashierless” Go stores will begin to accept cash in order to avoid discriminating against those who don’t have a smartphone or bank account.
Amazon Go stores were designed to allow customers to simplify the shopping experience. Shoppers can simply walk out of the store with their chosen items and they will be charged automatically through an app on their smartphone. Now, Amazon has announced that the stores will begin to take cash payments for those shoppers that might not have a smartphone or bank account.
The concern is legitimate for Amazon. Approximately 1 in 3 US adults who earn less than $30,000 each year do not own a smartphone.
Some expressed concerns that the store promoted “elitism” by excluding those without a smartphone or bank account. In response to these concerns, Steve Kessel, Amazon’s senior vice president of physical stores told employees that the Amazon Go store will begin to accept alternative methods of payment including SNAP benefits. Analysts believe that extending access to those on SNAP benefits will substantially increase Amazon’s revenue stream at their physical stores.
“We’re in earlier days but it’s an important focus for us and we’ll continue to extend those methods with our stores,” Kessel said in a meeting with employees.
There are only 10 Amazon Go stores in operation at the present moment but reports suggest that Amazon plans to open 3,000 of them by 2021.
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