Amazon’s newest store is smaller than the average New York City apartment.
The company unveiled a small-format version of its cashier-less Go concept on Wednesday. It measures only 450 square feet, and it looks more like a giant vending machine than a small store. It sells only prepared foods, drinks, and snacks — and none of the “grocery” essentials some of the other Go stores offer.
The first one is located in Amazon’s Macy’s Building in Seattle, and is therefore limited to Amazon employees and their guests.
But that doesn’t mean the idea will stay that way.
Amazon is looking into putting Go stores in airports, Reuters reported earlier in December citing public records. Airports, with their often small stores, could be an ideal place for a smaller format shop. Head of Amazon Go Gianna Puerini told CNN they want to put the stores in hospitals, office building lobbies, or “anywhere where there’s a lot of people who are hungry and in a rush.”
The smaller stores could also be key to Amazon’s reported plan to open thousands of the stores in a few years, as the small versions are modular and take only weeks to set up, making them only moderately more difficult to install than a traditional automated retail device like a vending machine.
Amazon quietly pulled the plug on its latest vending machine replacement, Amazon Instant, this year.
But Amazon isn’t just going small — it’s also going big.
Amazon is also looking to expand the use of the technology used in Go to larger stores, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. The company recently started testing the use of the tech in a larger space in Seattle, the Journal reported.
The most obvious use case for this would be Amazon’s own fleet of grocery stores, Whole Foods, which are much larger than the Amazon Go convenience stores the company has been opening in cities across the country.
While Whole Foods stores were an average of 40,000 square feet as of 2017, Amazon Go’s seven stores opened so far have all been less than 2,300 square feet — more convenience store than full-scale fresh grocery.
But that could change once Amazon is able to crack the code of scaling the technology to spaces where there are more items for sale, more people shopping, and just generally more information to take in and process.