Amazon and Starbucks teamed up to launch a new cashier-less cafe in midtown Manhattan that opens to the public on Thursday.
The new concept store combines a traditional Starbucks pickup cafe with the so-called “Just Walk Out Shopping” experience of an Amazon Go market, allowing customers to order their coffee concoctions, pastries and sandwiches ahead of time on the Starbucks app and see the status of their order on a digital screen when they arrive. Customers who don’t wish to download the Starbucks app and order on their phone can also use a register in the store and pay with any of the payment options accepted by Starbucks.
Customers can then directly take items off the shelf to add to their Amazon Go virtual cart or put them back on the shelf to remove from their virtual cart. A customer will be charged for their items automatically when they leave the Amazon Go market, after using the Amazon app, Amazon One payment method or credit card to enter the store.
The coffee shop and market also feature a lounge and individual workplaces, expandable tables, power outlets and USB ports for those who want to work in the cashier-less cafe.
“The new Starbucks Pickup with Amazon Go is designed to provide our customers with an experience that delivers convenience and connection in an effortless way,” Katie Young, the senior vice president of global growth and development at Starbucks, said in a statement.
“Our goal with this new store concept is to give our customers the ability to choose which experience is right for them as they go through their day, whether it is utilizing the Starbucks and Amazon apps to purchase food and beverages on the go, or deciding to stay in the lounge for the traditional third place experience Starbucks is known for,” Young added.
The Seattle-based companies said they plan to open a second location in the New York Times Building next year, and a third one in 2022 to meet “evolving customer preferences for convenience, higher levels of mobile ordering and contactless pay, and reduced time waiting in lines,” according to a joint statement Thursday.
The initiatives come as the service industry notably struggles to hire staffers in the wake of COVID-19-related shocks, but also as millennial and Gen Z shoppers have increasingly driven demand for unattended commerce.
The store also opens amid the backdrop of new unionization efforts emerging at both Amazon and Starbucks.