CNBC’s Courtney Reagan reports on the tech giant’s latest venture and how much of a threat it really is to the grocery industry. Amazon brings cashierless tech to full-size grocery store for first time at new Seattle-area location.
CNBC Television , Jun 15, 2021
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The technology is arriving in its fourteenth US Amazon Fresh store
Amazon’s cashierless Just Walk Out technology is coming to a full-size grocery store for the first time, the company has announced. The new 25,000 square foot Amazon Fresh store is significantly bigger than the 10,400 square foot Amazon Go Grocery store it opened last year, or its standard 1,200 and 2,300 square feet Go stores, marking a minor milestone as Amazon scales up its technology. The new store will be Amazon’s fourteenth Fresh location in the US when it opens on June 17th in Bellevue, Washington.
When Amazon previously opened a 35,000 square foot Amazon Fresh store last year using its high-tech Dash Carts, it prompted speculation that the company’s Just Walk Out technology wasn’t suitable for larger stores. But Amazon has always maintained that Just Walk Out, which uses a series of overhead cameras and pressure sensitive shelves to automatically detect what shoppers put in their carts, can scale up to stores of any size.
“Bringing Just Walk Out technology to a full-size grocery space with the Amazon Fresh store in Bellevue showcases the technology’s continued ability to scale and adapt to new environments and selection” said Amazon’s vice president of Physical Retail and Technology, Dilip Kumar. “I’m thrilled it’ll help even more customers enjoy an easier and faster way to shop and can’t wait to get their feedback on this latest Just Walk Out offering.”
Amazon says that when customers arrive at the new store in Bellevue, Washington, they’ll be prompted to pick a checkout option, and that traditional checkouts will still be available for customers that want them. If they decide to use Just Walk Out, they can enter the store by scanning a QR code in the Amazon app, inserting a linked credit or debit card, or scanning their palm. Once they leave the store, they’re automatically billed for the items in their virtual cart, and a receipt is sent digitally to them.
The new store uses of Just Walk Out, but it won’t feature the high-tech Dash shopping carts Amazon debuted in its first Fresh grocery store last August. Amazon declined to say whether it would be bringing Just Walk Out tech to its pre-existing Amazon Fresh stores in the US. Meanwhile in the UK, the technology appears in Fresh-branded locations that are similar in size to Amazon’s Go stores in the US.
In addition to Amazon’s own stores, the company also provides Just Walk Out to third-party retailers. Amazon says Hudson markets, OTG CIBO Express, and Delaware North are three external retailers that have started to roll out the technology at various locations.