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 retail giant's foray into supermarkets, but there's a twist: The stores don't have cashiers. Instead, all transactions are handled through the Amazon Go smartphone app. Exactly how does Amazon Go work, and where can you find these futuristic Amazon Go grocery stores? 

What Is Amazon Go?

Amazon Go markets sell grocery staples such as bread, milk, coffee beans, meats, and cheeses in addition to convenience store goods like single-serving beverages, snack bars, candy, and alcohol. Amazon Go Grocery is a full-fledged supermarket that carries everything you'd expect from fresh produce to household goods. You can even buy Amazon meal kits, which contain pre-measured ingredients for a two-serving meal that 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 along with condiments, utensils, and napkins for customers who want to eat their meal right away. There's also free Wi-Fi and a charging station for your electronics.

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

Where to Find Amazon Go Locations

The first Amazon Go store is an 1800 square feet space in downtown Seattle. 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 App

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. After you download the Amazon Go app and 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 must 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.

How Does Amazon Go Work?

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.

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 with 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.

How to Get a Refund From Amazon Go

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

  1. Tap the menu icon in the upper-right of the Amazon Go app

  2. Tap Receipts, then select the applicable receipt.

  3. Tap the product you want to return, and then follow the on-screen 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.