Amazon Faces Criticism Over Cashless Stores
10 May 2019 - 10:33 by Graham Miller
E-commerce titan Amazon has been slowly but surely encroaching on the bricks-and-mortar retail market with a handful of high street convenience stores opening in the US over the past couple of years.
These outlets are noteworthy specifically because they tie the speed of picking up products in person with the convenience of carrying out safe shopping online. This is because they do not accept cash or feature traditional checkouts; instead customers can simply walk in, select what they want and leave, with payment automatically being taken from their linked account.
However, a growing campaign to make the Amazon Go chain of stores less skewed towards wealthier patrons has resulted in the firm being strong-armed into accepting cash, in spite of the main selling point being the opposite of this.
Those in favour of this move argue that by embracing cashless purchases, Amazon is effectively ostracising any customers who might not have access to a bank account, a credit card or some form of technology that allows them to make payments digitally.
So far the only store that has been made to change its payments policy is the one located in New York City, but if other regions of the US take a similar stance, then it may be rolled out further afield.
Interestingly enough, the UK is far more attuned to the rising tide of cashless payments than almost any other country in the developed world. Each year around £94 trillion is spent through methods that do not involve bank notes or coins, according to Internet Retailing.
Contactless payment technology has further fuelled this trend on British soil, and so if Amazon also decided to introduce its convenience stores on a wide scale in this country, it would probably not encounter the same issues.