Dive Brief:

  • Amazon is planning to launch a new convenience store format aimed at suburban shoppers, the retailer announced Tuesday.
  • The first of the new retail locations, which will sport the Amazon Go name and offer grab-and-go foods, beverages and everyday essentials, is set to open “in the coming months” in the Seattle suburb of Mill Creek, Washington, an Amazon spokesperson said in an emailed statement.
  • The new line of stores augments Amazon’s existing fleet of smaller, urban-focused Go stores and continues the company’s multifaceted push to expand its network of physical locations. 

Dive Insight:

Amazon is positioning its latest retail concept as a way to reach on-the-go shoppers located outside the downtown locations where its existing Amazon Go stores are located.

Like Amazon’s urban Go locations, the suburban stores will be equipped with Amazon’s Just Walk Out frictionless checkout technology, which uses computer vision to record customers’ purchases as they walk through a store and charges them automatically as they exit.

Amazon said the new stores will feature a range of beer and wine, including local selections, adding that it plans to add new, unspecified items after the format debuts.

“We think local residents and commuters will enjoy the ease of our Just Walk Out Shopping to quickly and conveniently shop from an expanded selection of tasty, ready-to-eat food items and grab-and-go beverages and snacks in their own neighborhood,” the spokesperson said.

A key difference between the new Go stores and their city-based counterparts, which are located Chicago, New York, Seattle and San Francisco, is their size. 

The Go store in Mill Creek will occupy a 6,150-square-foot site at 13209 39th Ave. SE, of which about 3,240 square feet will be front-of-house space. By comparison, Amazon’s first Go location, which Amazon announced in 2016 and opened in January 2018 in Seattle, has about 1,800 square feet of retail space — what the retailer described at the time as “conveniently compact.”

The typical U.S. convenience store has 2,425 square feet of retail space, according to figures published by Statista in 2019.

Amazon said it plans to bring the new Go format to the Los Angeles region — where it already operates several brick-and-mortar Fresh grocery stores — after the Mill Creek store opens. The company said the expansion would happen “in the coming months,” but did not indicate how many locations it is planning to open in the Southern California metropolis or where they will be located.

This isn’t the first time Amazon has launched a new format under the Go brand. The company opened two Go Grocery stores in the Seattle area in 2020 but phased out the brand just over a year later, underscoring its intention to focus on Go and Fresh stores moving forward. 

Amazon’s disclosure that it is developing a tweaked version of its Go convenience format comes a week after the retailer announced it would open its first physical clothing store, Amazon Style, in Glendale, California, just outside Los Angeles, later in 2022. The company opened the first location in its growing chain of Amazon Fresh full-size grocery stores in August 2020 in Woodland Hills, California, another Los Angles-area community, and now has 23 Fresh locations across six states and Washington, D.C.

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