Starbucks and Amazon go cashless in Seattle
A Starbucks in Seattle isn’t interested in your cash. In fact, it won’t accept cash should you try to use it as payment for your purchase.
The store located inside the Russell Investments Center in the city’s downtown area is the only one running a test of cashless payments, according to the company. The purpose of the test, a Starbucks spokesperson told The Seattle Times, is to “understand how cashless forms of payment may impact our customer experience.”
Starbucks has continued to emphasize its mobile order and payment app as means to engage with its customers and better manage traffic flow in its stores. When the coffee giant announced the closing of its online store on Oct. 1 of last year, a spokesperson emphasized the chain’s focus on “amplifying Starbucks as a must-visit destination” using the mobile app and the company’s rewards program as key drivers towards that goal. Starbucks reported that mobile order and pay accounted for 10 percent of all transactions in its fourth quarter 2017 operating results.
While the test by Starbucks has captured headlines, it is not the only business selling food and drinks to take the cashless route.
On Monday, Amazon opened its Go convenience store concept that operates without the need for cash or cashiers. When a shopper takes an item off a shelf, it is automatically added to their virtual shopping cart. Amazon bills the customers’ accounts when they leave the store and posts receipts to the app.
Tender Greens, a fast-casual restaurant chain with 26 locations, announced on Jan. 15 that it was going cashless. The company’s founders explained in a blog post that since starting the business in 2006, they had seen the percentage of cash transactions drop into the single digits. After testing a cashless approach to the business, they discovered “guests were getting through the line faster and our teams were getting back hours of time to do more interesting and meaningful things.”
While going cashless is something that may not bother the growing number of people who choose to use other forms of payment, there is concern that it discriminates against consumers who may not have access to non-cash forms of payment.
- Starbucks tests no-cash policy at downtown Seattle store – The Seattle Times
- Amazon Go goes live – RetailWire
- We’re Going Cashless – Tender Greens
- Starbucks Q4 FY17 Financial and Operating Results – Starbucks
- Should Starbucks close its online store? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think cashless restaurants and stores are going to become ubiquitous in the near future? Does not accepting cash represent a form of discrimination?