Streamlined Starbucks hits New York City

The coffee giant has opened its first Starbucks Pickup store in partnership with Amazon Go on the Upper East Side in New York City, with two more on the way in the area by early 2022.

At this store, customers that have ordered ahead of time via the Starbucks app can walk in, look to see if their order is ready via the large digital Order Status sign, pick up their drink and walk out. They can also use their Amazon app or credit card to scan into the store and pick up a Dominique Ansel pastry (or a number of other New York City-specific items Ess-a-Bagel), Amazon Kitchen sandwich or sushi roll from the marketplace and just walk out.

Once they exit the store with the item, they’ll be charged via their Amazon account via the Amazon Just Walk Out Technology as seen in the Amazon Go stores.

“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,” Katie Young, senior vice president of global growth and development at Starbucks said in a statement.

“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.”

Here’s how it works from the customer’s perspective:

Order your drinks or food ahead of time through the Starbucks app to the store at 59th and Lexington (although, Starbucks says that the store “primarily” accepts orders placed via the app, so perhaps there will be exceptions to the rule). When their order is ready, a square will appear around their name on the sign, and they will then pick up their order from a barista without needing to check out.

When selecting food or beverage items from the marketplace, the store sensory technology is smart enough to know if a customer picks up an item and then puts it back and won’t charge them for it. Once the customer leaves, they will be charged for their purchases and receive a receipt a few hours later.

While there will be two more Starbucks Pickup with Amazon Go stores coming to New York City soon (one located in the New York Times building just outside of Times Square), Starbucks said that expansion plans to more cities have not been announced yet. The new store pickup technology and store design is part of the coffee giant’s strategy to find the perfect store format fit for different types of communities based on geography, population density and consumer demand.