Amazon expands high-tech grocery format to East Coast

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Amazon is hoping for good luck with its soon-to-open 13th Amazon Fresh brick-and-mortar grocery store. 

The omnichannel retail giant is opening its first Amazon Fresh location on the East Coast, in Franconia, Virginia, on Thursday, May 27. The approximately 30,000-sq.-ft. store will serve the greater Washington, D.C., area.

Amazon Fresh stores are designed from the ground up to offer a seamless shopping experience, with extra perks for members of the Amazon Prime paid loyalty program. Currently, Amazon operates eight other Amazon Fresh stores in California, as well as four locations in Illinois. In addition, the retailer is currently hiring for two new Amazon Fresh stores that will open in King County, Wash.

Amazon is also said to be planning at least 28 additional Amazon Fresh stores across the U.S., including a location in Plainview, N.Y.

Although Amazon Fresh features traditional checkout counters, shoppers also have the option to use the Amazon Dash Cart, which leverages a combination of computer vision algorithms and sensor fusion to identify items placed in it. Customers can place their bags in the cart, sign in using their Fresh QR code in the Amazon app, shop, and exit through the Dash Cart lane to automatically complete their payment.

In another omnichannel offering, customers can find items more quickly by using Amazon Alexa voice technology and Alexa shopping lists. When customers arrive in store, they can access their Alexa shopping list through the Amazon app or on the Amazon Dash Cart, enabling them to more quickly navigate aisles and check off items as they shop. 

Throughout the store, there are Amazon Echo Show devices customers can use to ask for help via Alexa voice technology. The format also offers direct same-day delivery and pickup services. Customers can pick up their orders by visiting the service counter or by pulling up to a dedicated pick-up parking spot. Same-day delivery is free for Prime members. 

Furthermore, customers have access to package pick-up and free packageless product returns, as well a range of prepared foods made fresh in store every day. 

“We look forward to serving the Franconia community and welcoming customers into our doors,” said Nadeem Sheikh, store manager of the new Amazon Fresh Franconia grocery store. “In addition to low prices, customers will find a broad selection of high-quality food and innovative shopping features. We’re also proud that this store has created hundreds of good jobs for the local community.”