Advertisement
02/23/2022

Amazon opens first Whole Foods store with cashierless technology

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
Dan Berthiaume profile picture

Amazon is officially offering its “Just Walk Out” autonomous checkout experience in its Whole Foods Market division.

As announced in September 2021, Amazon is now live with “Just Walk Out” at a new 21,500-sq.-ft. Whole Foods store in Washington, D.C.’s Glover Park neighborhood. Amazon’s Just Walk Out” tech leverages a combination of computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning — similar to what is used in a self-driving car — that enables shoppers to shop the store, select products and skip the checkout when they’re done.

Originally available only in Amazon Go convenience and small-format grocery stores, Amazon has been rolling out the technology to select Amazon Fresh high-tech grocery locations also licenses the technology to third-party retailers.

At this new Whole Foods location, Amazon says it has expanded the computer vision algorithms of its Just Walk Out technology to support all of the store’s selection, including self-service. For example, customers at the new store will be able to shop stations with self-service fresh-squeezed orange juice and mochi ice cream, using the Just Walk Out experience.

Amazon also integrated the tech with Whole Foods’ checkout and payment processing systems to accommodate customers who want to either shop via Just Walk Out or the store’s self-checkout lanes. Entering the store, customers will be greeted by an associate, and can then choose if they want to shop using Just Walk Out technology or the self-checkout lanes. Amazon said employees will be available throughout the store to assist customers, regardless of how they choose to shop. (Shoppers who want to check out with a Whole Foods employees can do so at the customer service booth.)

Whole Foods customers who want to use Just Walk Out shopping can do so in three ways: by scanning the QR code in the Whole Foods Market or Amazon app, hovering their palm using the Amazon One palm-based payment system, or inserting a credit or debit card linked to their Amazon account. Customers who want to use cash, prepaid cards, Whole Foods Market gift cards, EBT, or eWic can use the self-checkout lanes.

Once inside, customers will shop like normal and at the end of their trip, they scan or insert their entry method again to exit. After customers leave the store, those who use the Just Walk Out experience will receive a digital receipt, which will be available in the Whole Foods Market app.

Amazon also plans to open a “Just Walk Out”-enabled Whole Foods store in Sherman Oaks, California, during 2022. For now, Amazon plans to observe customer reaction to Just Walk Out when it opens the two new Whole Foods locations and then go from there.

Amazon Prime members who shop at Whole Foods Market have access to a number of benefits year-round, like deep discounts on select popular products each week and an additional 10% off hundreds of in-store sale items. Whole Foods Market has more than 500 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.