Got social anxiety after more than a year of quarantining at home? Well, those who live in Seattle will soon be able to pick up all their groceries without interacting with anyone. Amazon announced on Tuesday (June 15) its first full-size Amazon Fresh grocery store with the company’s “Just Walk Out” cashierless checkout technology. The store will open its doors to customers on Thursday (June 17) in The Marketplace at Factoria mall in Bellevue, Washington outside of Seattle.
To take advantage of the Just Walk Out option, shoppers can either scan a code that appears in the Amazon app, float their palm over one of the store’s biometric palm scanners or insert their Amazon account-linked credit or debit card. The store will then use ceiling cameras and shelf weight sensors, among other technologies powered by Amazon Web Services, to update shoppers’ virtual carts as they add and remove items from their physical carts. Those who would prefer to check out in the traditional way will also have the option to do so.
“The feedback has been fantastic, with customers noting that skipping the checkout allows them to save time and reduce contact in stores,” Dilip Kumar, vice president of physical retail and technology at Amazon, said in a statement.
The store will feature both Amazon’s private-label groceries and those from other brands, as well as meals prepared in the on-site kitchen.
While this marks the first full-size store using the “Just Walk Out” technology, it is not the first time customers have been able to purchase groceries from Amazon in this way. The technology has also been implemented in smaller locations. Kumar cites Amazon Go, Amazon Go Grocery and Amazon Fresh stores in the U.K., as well as third-party retailer stores, as places where this technology has been successfully deployed. The company also previously had two Amazon Go Grocery stores in the U.S., though those have been folded into the Amazon Fresh grocery brand.
In a statement, Jeff Helbling, vice president of Amazon Fresh Stores, said the company has “received incredible feedback” at Fresh locations in California, Illinois and Virginia about the store model’s prices and selection, its delivery and pickup options and the ability to voice shop with Alexa, among other features.
The news comes one week after Hudson (of airport convenience store fame) announced the opening of its second Hudson Nonstop airport convenience store utilizing Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology, with the new store at Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW) joining the first location at Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL).
“Bringing Just Walk Out technology to a full-size grocery space … showcases the technology’s continued ability to scale and adapt to new environments and selection,” said Kumar. Given his emphasis on the technology’s adaptability and its usefulness in “new environments,” it is likely that we will see more Just Walk Out stores in the near future, Amazon-branded or otherwise.
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