Amazon has opened its 12th Go grocery store in New York City, marking the first store from the retailer which will accept physical cash.
This is a significant new direction for Amazon Go, which has been hailed by many as the next step in physical retail, doing away with cashiers and, until now, cash altogether.
Its high-tech store concept works by allowing users to scan their smartphones upon entry, linking to their Amazon accounts, then using cameras and sensors to determine every item a shopper picks up and charging their accounts automatically, leaving no need to visit a cashier.
However, concerns have been raised that this format discriminates against socioeconomic classes who only have access to cash.
In March Philadelphia passed a law stating that after July 1 almost all businesses in the city will be required by law to accept cash payments and any retailers who fails to accept cash after July 1 could face a fine of up to $2000.
This follows a similar bill from the state of New Jersey a month prior.
With ambitious plans to role out 3000 stores over the coming few years, and growing resistance against cashless formats across the US including in San Francisco where Amazon Go has three stores, this move marks a significant turning point.
Customers who prefer to pay by cash in Amazon’s new location will have to have a store employee scan them into store, as opposed to cashless shoppers who scan their app to enter through a turn style.
Much like a traditional grocery store, once a cash shopper selects all their items a store employee will have to scan every item, accept the cash and check them out.
Many have raised concerns that the addition will essentially defeat the purpose of Amazon’s cashierless technology altogether, however it will allow the tech giant to bypass growing legislative resistance to the format.