What Is Amazon Go?

Learn how the cashier-free process works - and where you can find it

Amazon Go and Amazon Go Grocery are the company's foray into supermarkets, but with a twist: the stores don't have cashiers. Customers enter the store using the Amazon Go app, shop as usual, and walk out with their grocery items. Amazon calls it Just Walk Out Technology. So how exactly does this work, and where can you find these futuristic Amazon Go grocery stores? 

Where to Find Amazon Go Locations

The first Amazon Go store is an 1800 square feet space in downtown Seattle, and there are plans to open another location in Seattle, as well as in Chicago and San Francisco. Check the Amazon Go website and the Amazon Go Grocery page to find out if there are locations near you; large cities will likely be Amazon's priority.

The Amazon Go markets sell grocery staples such as bread and milk, coffee beans, meats and cheeses, and convenience store goods like single-serving beverages, snack bars, candy, and alcohol. You can also buy Amazon meal kits, which contain pre-measured ingredients for a two-serving meal that the company says takes about 30 minutes to cook. 

The stores also sell microwaveable prepared meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; there are even microwaves on the way out for customers who want to eat their meal right away, as well as condiments, utensils, and napkins. There's also free Wi-Fi and a charging station for your electronics.

Amazon Go Grocery is a full-fledged supermarket that carries everything you'd expect from fresh produce to household goods.

How Does Amazon Go Work?

Before you go into the store, you'll need an iPhone with iOS 9 or higher or an Android smartphone that runs Android 4.1 or later and the Amazon Go app; the app is available on the Amazon Appstore in addition to the Apple App Store and Google Play. Download the app, log in to your Amazon account, choose a default payment method, and you're ready to shop.

The main screen of the app has a QR code, which you scan as you enter an Amazon Go or Amazon Go Grocery location. You can also use the app to let friends and family in; you don't need to be an Amazon Prime member to shop at Amazon Go stores.

Image of person scanning their smartphone at the entrance of the Amazon Go store
Stephen Brashear / Getty Images

Shopping at Amazon Go feels a bit like shoplifting since there isn't a checkout counter; you grab the items you want to buy and then leave. That's not to say there are no employees; there's staff on the floor to help customers find products and answer questions, stock shelves, prep ingredients, and make ready-to-eat meals. You also need to provide an ID card to a staff member to take alcoholic products off the shelves. The staff can also help if you want to pay cash.

When you take items off the shelf, they go into your virtual cart; anything you put back gets removed. It works the same for any guests you've scanned into the store. You don't even have to keep your smartphone out while browsing. When you've finished shopping, you walk out the front door with your purchases. You'll receive an electronic receipt and see the charge in your Amazon account. The store currently has reusable tote bags available for free to help carry your groceries out, too.

Don't grab any items for other shoppers unless you want to pay for it. Amazon Go stores use cameras and sensors to determine which customer took which product.

Amazon Go app menu options.

If you get home and realize you purchased something by mistake or a defective product, you can request a refund within seven days using the Amazon Go app.

  1. Tap the menu on the top right of the app

  2. Go to Receipts, then select the applicable receipt

  3. Tap the product you want to return, and then follow the onscreen instructions.

If seven or more days have passed since your visit, you'll need to contact customer service. From the app, select the receipt, then tap Contact us about this trip and choose an option to contact customer service.