Amazon brings cashierless tech to full-size grocery store for first time at new Seattle-area location

Amazon’s new Amazon Fresh Store in the Seattle area features the company’s Just Walk Out technology that eliminates the need for cashiers. (Amazon photo)

Amazon’s newest physical grocery store, opening this week in the Seattle area, is unique in that it will feature the company’s Just Walk Out cash-free technology. It is the first time the technology has been available in a full-size store and marks a milestone for Amazon given the cost and complexity of implementing such a system.

Amazon will open a 25,000-square-foot Amazon Fresh location in the Factoria neighborhood of Bellevue, Washington, on Thursday. GeekWire previously wrote about clues pointing to the store’s evolution.

Amazon Fresh Stores are designed to be similar to a traditional full-service grocery store, but with some additional technology, including smart shopping carts and Amazon Echo devices, to help shoppers navigate their way through the aisles.

The Factoria store will also now use the cashierless technology, which uses a series of cameras and sensors to keep a record of what people put in their shopping carts while shopping, eliminating the need for checkout lines. Customers scan their cell phones when they enter and “just go out” after they have loaded their basket or shopping cart. Amazon uses the technology in its smaller Amazon Go convenience stores.

With the introduction of Just Walk Out, the Factoria store will no longer offer smart shopping carts that automatically recognize and log items on a digital display and eliminate the need for a traditional checkout. Amazon said the Smart Carts, also known as Amazon Dash Carts, will remain available in other Amazon Fresh Stores.

The first Amazon Fresh store opened last September, and now eight are open in the Los Angeles area, four in the Chicago area, and one in Virginia. Another is planned on Jackson Street in the Central District of Seattle. The stores sell produce, meat, ready-made meals – fried chicken for $ 4.97, pizza for $ 1.79 apiece – and more, and also act as return centers or delivery stations for packages.

The Factoria Store, which is located at 3903 Factoria Sq Mall SE, will continue to have traditional checkouts for those who do not wish to use Just Walk Out. It will also include Amazon One, the company’s hand-picked ID system that was recently rolled out to Whole Foods stores.

Amazon said it will focus on Just Walk Out at the Factoria store and “move on from there” to bring the technology to other Amazon Fresh stores or Whole Foods locations.

Amazon sells its Amazon Go technology to other retailers. There is also a deluge of competitors developing their own cashless tech and pitching vendors.

Seattle-based Amazon continues to invest $ 658 billion in the U.S. grocery market. The different food concepts include Amazon Go, Amazon Fresh Pickup, Amazon Fresh Delivery, Whole Foods Delivery and Prime Now Delivery. Last month, Amazon renamed its Amazon Go Grocery brand to Amazon Fresh.

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