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Starbucks teams up with Amazon for new store concept

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Starbucks Corp. is teaming up with Amazon to provide in-store customers with frictionless checkout.

The first “Starbucks Pickup with Amazon Go” location has opened in mid-town Manhattan, at 59th Street between Park and Lexington Avenues. The store is a combination of the Starbucks Pickup format, which primarily accepts orders that are placed through the Starbucks app prior to the customer arriving at the store, and the “Just Walk Out” cashierless technology platform supporting the Amazon Go store format. The two companies, both based in Seattle, plan to open at least two more locations during the next year, with the second planned for midtown Manhattan, in the New York Times Building.

Customers can order a coffee or beverage at the new Starbucks by pre-ordering (and paying for) their drink on the chain’s mobile app, choosing the location, and then going to the store where the order will be waiting. Orders that are still being processed are noted on a digital screen above the counter. 

Part of the store is dedicated to an Amazon Go market, which offers a curated selection of food items from both Starbucks and Amazon Go convenience stores. It includes a lounge setting with individual workspaces/dining booths and tables with power outlets and USB ports.

To enter the Amazon Go market and lounge area, customers can use the “in-store code” in the Amazon shopping app, Amazon One biometric palm identification, or a credit card. Once in, they can shop the market similar as to how they would at an Amazon Go store. Any items that a customer takes off the shelf is automatically added to their virtual cart. Anything put back on the shelf, comes out of the virtual cart.

When a customer is done shopping, they can either sit in the lounge to consume their items or leave. After the customer leaves the Amazon Go market, their card will be charged and they can have access to their receipt within a few hours or faster.

To enter the Amazon Go market, customers can use a code in Amazon’s shopping app, Amazon One biometric palm identification or a credit card

Starbucks Pickup stores primarily accept orders that are placed through the Starbucks app prior to the customer arriving at the store. Customers can place and pay for their order by selecting the pickup location in the app. Once the customer arrives at the store, they can find the status of their order on a digital screen in the store and then pick up their order directly from a Starbucks barista.

“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,” said Katie Young, senior VP of global growth and development at Starbucks. “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.”

Amazon began licensing the Go platform, which combines computer vision, sensor fusion, and machine-learning algorithms, in March 2020.

“Amazon Go and Starbucks share a common vision to provide innovative in-store experiences that are centered on the customer,” said Dilip Kumar, VP of physical retail and technology at Amazon. “Customers have enjoyed the effortless shopping experience enabled by our Just Walk Out technology at Amazon Go where they can simply come in, grab something delicious to eat or drink, and just leave and carry on with their day without having to wait in line to pay. We’re excited to now share Amazon Go’s Just Walk Out Shopping experience and curated assortment of fresh-prepared food items and beverages with even more customers at this Starbucks Pickup location in New York City.”

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