Amazon’s Convenience Store Without Checkout Lines Will Sell Beer and Wine
Amazon Go, the e-commerce giant’s convenience store experiment without checkout lines, appears to be stocking its shelves with new products before doors even open to the general public.
The new retail concept shop is expected to start selling beer and wine, according to a Recode report on Tuesday after spotting a liquor license application in the store window, noting Amazon confirmed the plans to the tech news site.
Amazon also confirmed its plans to Fortune. An Amazon spokesperson replied: “When we start offering beer and wine, there will be an associate checking identification.”
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Amazon (AMZN) unveiled plans for its futuristic, high-tech vision of its twist on the common bodega in December. The first location in Amazon’s hometown of Seattle is a 1,800-square foot shop offering prepared food for all meals from breakfast to dinner as well as grocery staples like bread, cheese, and milk. Products are touted to be sourced from both local, artisanal merchants as well as household brands available nationwide. Amazon will also be hawking its own meal kits, stepping up a battle against online competitors such as Blue Apron, Plated, and HelloFresh, among others.
Currently open to Amazon employees as a beta program, Amazon previously said Go will open to the public in early 2017. To get started, customers scan their smartphones upon entering the store. Amazon’s proprietary technology is described to detect when products are removed from or returned to shelves. A smartphone app keeps track of the virtual shopping cart, and when the customer is done, he or she can simply walk out of the store with the groceries—without having to line up at a checkout counter—and the corresponding Amazon.com account is charged.
But the lack of human interaction in that scenario initially raised questions if Amazon will be selling liquor products, but Amazon will have staff on the store floor to check identification and verify buyers are over the age of 21.
Amazon Go isn’t the first brick-and-mortar project for the primarily online retail, entertainment, and cloud services company. Amazon has been reaching back to its original business—books—with the opening of more bookstores across the United States.