Amazon opens first Whole Foods with cashierless technology
The first Whole Foods equipped with cashierless technology from Amazon opened today, allowing customers to avoid the register altogether.
Why it matters: The 21,500-sq.-ft. store demonstrates how much autonomous shopping has improved.
- Amazon, the grocer's parent company, has been experimenting and expanding its “Just Walk Out” system since at least 2016.
- Smaller versions of its cashierless stores, Amazon Go, are about 1,200- and 2,300-sq.ft. in size, and the company opened a 25,000-sq.-ft version last year under its Amazon Fresh brand.
Details: The new Whole Foods in Washington D.C. uses cameras, sensors and software similar to self-driving cars to track people and products throughout the store.
- Shoppers who want to skip going through a checkout process of any kind can scan a QR code from their Amazon or Whole Foods app, their palm, or an Amazon-linked credit or debit card when they walk in, before they start putting groceries into their baskets.
- Shoppers can still use self-checkout lanes, where cash, gift cards and supplemental nutrition program benefits are accepted.
- Amazon says "a comparable number" of workers as existing stores are staffed at the new location.
The big picture: Amazon is selling this technology to other grocers as stores look for ways to cut costs, including labor.