Amazon announces ‘cashierless’ Whole Foods coming next year

Company’s ‘Just Walk Out’ system lets customers avoid standing in line at check-out

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Wednesday 08 September 2021 18:35
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Amazon has announced that it will open a pair of “cashierless” Whole Food stores next year.

It will be the company’s first full-size test of its “Just Walk Out” system that lets customers shop and leave the store without standing in line at the check-out.

The technology will be scaled-up in two Whole Foods stores set to open in 2022 in the Glover Park area of Washington DC, and Sherman Oaks, California.

Amazon says the system sees shoppers scan their app when they enter the store, with cameras and sensors tracking what items they select.

Shoppers will then automatically be charged to a linked credit or debit card or placing their palm over the company’s palm-scanning payment system, Amazon One.

A digital receipt is provided after you leave the store and customers will need an Amazon account to use “Just Walk Out”.

Those shoppers who do not want to use the cashierless technology can pay for their items at self-checkout or at a customer service desk.

Amazon says the technology will support all of Whole Foods’ selection, including self-service mochi ice cream and orange juice “without adjusting any shopping habits”.

It has tested the technology at several Fresh stores and Go convenience stores and plans to sell the system to third-party retailers.

The company has rejected labour union claims that it will see the elimination of cashier positions, arguing that it will allow staff to do other work in the store.

“These locations will employ a comparable number of Team Members as existing Whole Foods Markets stores of similar sizes,” the company said in a blog post.

“With Just Walk Out-enabled Whole Foods Market stores, how Team Members in the store spend their time is simply shifting, allowing them to spend even more time interacting with customers and delivering a great shopping experience.”

Amazon bought Whole Foods in 2017 for more than $13bn and in April introduced its palm-scanning payment technology at a store in Seattle.

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