Amazon has opened an ultra-small cashier-less store in Seattle that’s being described as a glorified vending machine.
When Amazon opened it’s first checkout-free store last year the e-commerce business made headlines across the world, with speculation rife for how the concept might play into its future plans for the grocery sector.
As the concept has expanded into multiple cities throughout 2018, it has become more clear Amazon sees the future of its supermarket innovation at both the large and small ends of the market.
It’s latest store measures just 450 square feet (41.8 sqm) and is located on the sixth floor of the Macy’s building in downtown Seattle.
It’s obviously much bigger than a vending machine, but when the fact the store has no cashiers is taken into account, it’s functionally pretty similar.
While the typical Amazon Go stores serve a wide variety of pre-made food and groceries, the smaller store hones in on snacks, beverages and ready-to-go meals.
The possibilities are wide-ranging for this type of thing, such as in airports, where the combination between convenience and small-format makes for a low-cost model that’s attractive to shoppers.
A move to small convenience in grocery is nothing new and is also happening in Australia, however, where chains Coles and Woolworths are investing heavily in smaller format stores.
It reflects a large, international trend, away from big-weekly shops and towards more frequent and smaller trips to the supermarket.
Check-out free retail is also taking off. Woolworths is conducting a trial of a cashier-less concept in Australia, while small business The Party People is also dipping a toe in.
Update: 12:32PM AEDT December 17: A previous version of this story incorrectly converted the store’s square feet measurement, it is actually 41.8 sqm.