Amazon Go stores are moving to add cash as a payment method for purchases after claims of discrimination were laid against them.
The Amazon Go service is an express store system that facilitates purchases from consumers with as little inconvenience as possible. The idea is to remove the element of checkout lines and this is done by foregoing the traditional cashier system. Instead, buyers connect their credit cards or banks to an app, and credits are made against their selected method when purchases are conducted.
Recently, however, the company has come under scrutiny for this, and words such as ‘discrimination’ and ‘elitism’ are being thrown around. The concerns were responded to by Amazon’s Steve Kessel, who is the Senior Vice President (SVP) of physical stores. In a discussion with employees who were concerned about how Amazon intends to address these claims, Kessel made the revelation of plans to allow other payment methods.
He highlighted the fact that the stores are in experimental phases with accepting SNAP benefits from those who benefit from such government programs, and he also highlighted a new venture called Amazon Cash. With Amazon cash, customers can take their cash to local stores and have it added to their app balances. The solution for cash payments must be intuitive in this way as fostering traditional cash payments is detrimental for the express operation of the Amazon Go Stores.
Discriminatory concerns such as these are widespread, and several US states such as Massachusetts have already enacted laws that mandate stores to accept cash as a payment method. Philadelphia and New Jersey have now also banned cashless stores, and there are other states that are seriously considering such a move.
Amazon Go started operations in 2018. There are 10 of these stores currently operating across the US and they provide meals, snacks, and produce. The system automatically detects what has been taken and bills users on the app when they exit.