Amazon’s 1st Suburban Convenience Store Opens in Washington

The online retailer says it's “aiming to reinvent convenience.”

May 02, 2022

Customer at Amazon Go Convenience Store

MILL CREEK, Wash.—Amazon Go, a convenience-store arm of Amazon’s physical retail brands, has opened its first location in the suburbs, reports the Seattle Times. Last week, the 6,150-square-foot c-store welcomed its first customers in Mill Creek, Washington, outside of Seattle, and features over 1,300 products.

The portion of the store that serves customers is 3,250 square feet, which is bigger than most Amazon Go stores, which range in size from 450 to 2,700 square feet. The location features Amazon’s “Just Walk Out” technology, where customers enter the store using their palm, a code on their phone or their credit card. Sensors and cameras note what customers take out of the store and charges their account when they exit.

“The idea behind this technology was that it would fade into the background when customers were shopping. You’re not meant to notice it,” Ayesha Harper, a 14-year Amazon veteran who now runs Amazon Convenience, told the Times. “It’s really designed to let you get back to your day.”

The suburban location offers kombucha on tap, freshly brewed coffee (a first for an Amazon Go store), four flavors of ICEE slushies and a 30-item made-to-order menu curated from a team of in-house chefs. Above the made-to-order kitchen, there is a sign that reads “Let’s Eat,” reports the Times. The store also offers household items like pet food, motor oil, Ziploc bags and Clorox wipes.

“At Amazon Go, we are aiming to reinvent convenience,” said Harper.

Along with name brands, the location also offers private-label items, such as chicken Caesar wraps, chicken tortilla soup, “take and bake” pizzas, Amazon’s Aplenty brand for snacks and chips, as well as its Cursive brand for wine.

There is also a section for “in a pinch groceries” filled with items like butter and eggs with a sign above it reading “The Fridge.”

Early this year, Amazon announced it is planning to open more Amazon Go stores in America’s suburbs with larger footprints at around 3,200 to 6,000 square feet, compared with the urban Amazon Go stores, which are 450 to 2,700 square feet.

The Mill Creek location is the first planned suburban Amazon Go store, and a Los Angeles location is slated to be next in line.

In March, Amazon announced it would close all 68 of its brick-and-mortar bookstores, pop-ups and shops in the U.S. and U.K. Amazon said the move will allow it to focus on its grocery stores, Amazon Go convenience stores and a department store concept. The company’s physical store revenue was just 3% of its $137 billion in sales last quarter, and most of the revenue was from Whole Foods Market.

Amazon has invested in its grocery business with multiple services, including Prime Now, Fresh, Go and others, plus it purchased Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, which was more than 10 times higher than Amazon had paid in any prior deal. As of mid-December, and Whole Foods made up a combined 2.4% of the grocery market over the past 12 months. For comparison, Walmart controlled 18% of the grocery market, according to research firm Numerator.