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05/27/2021

Amazon plans second Amazon Fresh store in greater D.C.

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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As Amazon opens its first East Coast Amazon Fresh brick-and-mortar grocery store, the omnichannel giant is already hiring for its second.

Amazon officially opened its first Amazon Fresh location on the East Coast, and 13th overall, in Franconia, Va., on Thursday, May 27. The approximately 30,000-sq.-ft. store will serve the greater Washington, D.C., area.

In addition, Amazon is now hiring for its second East Coast Amazon Fresh store, which will also serve the greater Washington, D.C. area, in Chevy Chase, Md. Amazon has not yet released the store’s dimensions or an opening date. 

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 Amazon.com package pick-up and free packageless product returns, as well a range of prepared foods made fresh in store every day. 

An Amazon spokesperson offered Chain Store Age some insight into how customers are responding to the Amazon Fresh store experience.

“We’ve found that customers not only love the convenience of being able to skip the check-out line using Dash Cart, but they’re also finding the Dash Cart screen extremely useful in keeping track of items in their cart,” said the spokesperson. “The screen displays each item you add into the cart along with the price, which helps customers track what’s in their cart and know what they’re spending as they shop.”

The spokesperson said that in general, shoppers are pleased with the high-tech features of Amazon Fresh. “Customers can use Amazon Echo Show devices throughout the store to ask Alexa to help them find items, or ask about the store. We’ve found that our customers are excited to test out this new technology. If they encounter any problems, they can report them or give feedback to store employees.”