How Does Amazon Go Work? (How To Pay, Does It Have Employees, Shoplifting + More)

Considering Amazon’s commitment to convenience, it’s no surprise the company has expanded into quick-serve stores.

Because of this, you may be wondering: “How does Amazon Go work?” I had the same thought about these new convenience stores, so I did a deep dive to discover everything there is to know about Amazon Go. Keep reading below to learn more!

How Does Amazon Go Work?

Amazon Go is a chain of automated convenience stores where customers can buy groceries without a cashier or self-checkout. Amazon Go stores use AI, sensors, and cameras to track when a product has been removed from a shelf. Once a customer leaves with the product, they will be charged via their Amazon account.

If you want to learn more about Amazon Go, including what you can buy, where it’s located, and if it’s safe, check out our complete guide below!

What Can You Buy from Amazon Go?

Amazon Go is the newest convenience store offering hot/cold meals, snacks, coffee, and alcohol. Some locations also have Amazon Lockers for order pickup and a drop-off spot for Amazon returns!

Designed as a neighborhood grocery store, Amazon Go offers hot breakfasts, sandwiches, salads, wraps, bottled beverages, fountain drinks, and local baked goods. Fresh coffee, espresso, wine, and beer are also available.

What’s great about shopping at Amazon Go is their grocery items are competitively priced, similar to how much you would spend at a traditional gas station or convenience store.

Where Is Amazon Go Located?

Currently, 32 Amazon Go locations exist in the U.S. and the U.K. The first store opened in Seattle, Washington, in January 2018, and now the city has seven Amazon Go stores in total.

Across the country in the Midwest, Chicago’s first store opened in September 2018 and now boasts several locations.

Thanks to continued expansion, you can find five Amazon Go locations in San Francisco, eight in New York City, and five across the pond in London, England.

The U.K. stores are branded as Amazon Fresh but offer the same great contactless shopping that put Amazon Go on the map.

In addition to the Amazon Go convenience store, there are also Amazon Go grocery stores in Seattle. These are larger shops with a broader product selection of 5,000 items, from fresh produce to baked goods.

However, Amazon Go Grocery was recently rebranded to Amazon Fresh for better brand recognition, so all Amazon Go locations will be the same convenience store setup moving forward. 

How To Pay On Amazon Go?

Paying for your snacks and groceries is easy with Amazon Go, as the retailer relies on its innovative Just Walk Out technology.

Unlike typical stores where you can walk right in, to enter an Amazon Go store, you need the Amazon Shopping app, which is free and works on iPhone and Android devices.

After downloading the app from Amazon, Apple, or the Google Play app store, scan to enter by tapping the in-store code option in your Amazon app.

Just scan the QR code in the app to get through the gate, and then you can shop just like in a regular store.

Your entry and entire purchase are linked to your Amazon account, so all you need to do is pick up the grocery items you want, and then you’ll be on your way.

There are no lines or checkouts, as everything is tracked digitally. Amazon will charge your account based on the items you took off the shelf, and you’ll get a receipt in your account and email after your visit.

Can You Use Amazon One For Amazon Go?

Can You Use Amazon One For Amazon Go?

Amazon One is a new Amazon biometric payment system that identifies people by their palm print.

You can use Amazon One at Amazon Go convenience stores and other official Amazon stores like Amazon Books or Whole Foods Market.

With Amazon One, hover your palm over the reader to enter, identify, and pay.

If you want to enjoy the convenience of this contactless identity service when shopping at Amazon Go, you can sign up at

It’s a simple signup process that just requires you to scan your palm, provide your credit card/merchant membership number, and enter your cell phone number.

Once you sign up for Amazon One, you can use it immediately to enter Amazon Go and more Amazon stores.

In addition to Amazon One or a QR code, you can also use a credit card to enter Amazon Go stores, provided it’s linked to your Amazon account.

Does Amazon Go Have Employees?

While Amazon Go doesn’t have a traditional checkout system, you will still see a few employees in the store if you need help with anything.

Amazon aims to provide a seamless shopping experience that’s super fast and convenient, but it still relies on lead retail associates to monitor its Amazon Go shops.

The key responsibilities of Amazon Go employees include inventory workflow to receive shipments and keep the shelves stocked, opening/closing the store each day, and interacting with customers as required.

Amazon Go employees receive the same benefits as Amazon warehouse workers or delivery drivers, with a starting pay of at least $15.

As these employees are forward-facing and interact with customers daily, Amazon holds them to high-performance standards.

How Does Amazon Go Prevent Shoplifting?

Amazon Go prevents shoplifting by using innovative technology to monitor who can enter.

Every shopper needs to scan through the gate to come into the store. Cameras and tracking devices are installed to prevent people from sneaking in, not to mention the Amazon Go staff, who keep an eye on things.

For shoppers bringing family or friends into the store, the QR code has to be scanned for each person at the gate, including the primary account holder.

A single scan works for the entire group for entry via Amazon One or a credit card linked to Amazon.

Because everyone has to be scanned in to enter the store, all items are tracked to the shoppers’ virtual cart.

This essentially eliminates the possibility of shoplifting because any item taken off the track is linked to a virtual cart and paid for when the account is charged.

While Amazon Go effectively prevents shoplifting through its high-tech virtual tracking system, it balances this technology with customer satisfaction by ensuring any returned items are removed from the cart.

This means you can change your mind about a bag of chips or a chocolate bar, and as long as you put them back before you leave the store, you won’t be charged as long as they are removed from your cart.

Can I Make Returns at Amazon Go?

Amazon Go is excellent for handling returns. Most Amazon Go locations accept new, unopened items fulfilled by Amazon, provided it’s within 30 days of delivery in line with Amazon’s Return Policy.

If there’s an Amazon Go store in your city, just view your account orders to see which items you can return.

Select the item you wish to return, then follow the prompts to start the process. You can select an Amazon Go store as your preferred drop-off location for the return.

To finish the return and get your money back, visit the Amazon Go store and head to the returns processing area near the entry gates.

You must scan the in-store code from your Amazon Shopping app to gain entry. Remember there are two QR codes – one for Amazon Go entry and another for returns.

After dropping off the item at Amazon Go, you will get an email confirmation of the received return.

Once your refund is processed, you’ll get another email, and then it’s usually 3-5 days before the money hits your account.

If you want to learn more, you can also see our related posts on whether or not Honey works on Amazon, buying food on Amazon, and Amazon Fresh.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of

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