Amazon has introduced its cash-less Just Walk Out technology to the Whole Foods store for the first time that allows clients to browse and walk out with their purchases without having to deal with any cashier. The newly renovated store was launched on the 23rd of February in Washington Washington’s Glover Park neighborhood, where there’s been a Whole Foods store for over 20 years.
While Amazon has been operating cashless food stores for a while in growing vast Amazon Go as well as Amazon Fresh-branded stores but this is the first time that it’s brought the technology to the Whole Foods store. Amazon bought the supermarket chain in 2017 for $13.7 billion years 2017 However, up to now, the integration of the brand with Amazon has been sporadic that was limited to discounted prices and complimentary delivery to Prime customers.
With 21,500 square feet, this Whole Foods location isn’t the largest retailer to utilize Amazon’s cashier-less technology (there’s a 255,000 square-foot Amazon Fresh store with the Just Walk Out tech in Bellevue, Washington, for example). It does show Amazon’s trust in its technology and that it’s willing to add it to an existing store that doesn’t even have Amazon as its name. Amazon did not make a statement in response to the New York Times on whether it intends to bring the technology to every Whole Foods store.
According to a New York Times reporter who visited the store, Whole Foods features Amazon’s palm-recognition technology to allow entry, along with more traditional QR codes. The store is still staffed with several employees working different counters, who provide explanations of how the cashierless system operates. The store also offers self-service options, such as providing a bread slicer for customers to cut their own bread. Customers are also able to choose self-service checkouts in case they do not want to utilize Just Walk Out.
The NYT says that the cashierless method is causing a stir among those who had been buying groceries at Whole Foods prior to its overhaul. One person quoted compared it to the state of surveillance back in 1984 and others were more inclined to accept it as a benefit of the doubt.
Its Washington, DC store is one of two Whole Foods stores that Amazon earlier declared it would be bringing its cashier-less technology to. The second one will be opening within Los Angeles later this year.