Amazon scales its Just Walk Out tech for a full-size grocery store
Amazon.com is putting its cashierless Just Walk Out (JWO) technology to use in a new full-sized Amazon Fresh store in Bellevue, WA.
The use of the technology represents “the very first time” that it has been used in an environment where customers also have the option of checking out in the traditional manner using cashiers to ring up purchases.
Customers who want to check out without stopping at a register have three options as they enter the store. They can scan a QR code found in their Amazon app, scan their palm using Amazon One tech or insert a credit or debit card linked to their Amazon account. Any of the three will open JWO gates within the store.
Those who have questioned the utility of JWO have argued that the expense associated with its deployment — and other cost-increasing factors, such as structural challenges related to placing video cameras and other hardware in ceilings — made it unfeasible for a large store environment.
Dilip Kumar, Amazon vice president of physical retail and technology, doesn’t appear to share the concerns of critics. In a company blog, he is quoted as saying that the use of JWO in the Bellevue store “showcases the technology’s continued ability to scale and adapt to new environments and selection.”
Amazon has not specified if any modifications to the technology were necessary to make it work effectively in a store larger than its Fresh convenience format, previously known as Amazon Go.
Self-checkout technology continues to grow in importance for retailers looking to address a major pain point for shoppers and reduce costs at the same time. This hasn’t gone unnoticed by a significant number of startups creating their own solutions to offer no-stop checkout experiences for customers in stores.
Customers who have used JWO seem quite bullish on its use. Eighty-nine percent of shoppers who use the technology at an Amazon store think it’s a keeper. Fifty-four percent percent report having an excellent experience and 35 percent rated it as good, according to research from Piplsay.
Amazon believes that the addition of the technology will provide customers with another reason to shop its Fresh grocery format. The company has opened 13 locations since the concept’s launch in August of last year.
- Amazon Fresh Factoria Announcement Assets
- Amazon Fresh grocery store: Meet Just Walk Out shopping – Amazon.com
- Amazon Fresh grocery store opens touting low prices and cashier-free checkout – RetailWire
- Is Amazon on its way to becoming America’s favorite grocer? – RetailWire
- Will rival retailers buy Amazon’s ‘Just Walk Out’ technology? – RetailWire
- Automated checkout ‘will be everywhere’ sooner rather than later – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think Amazon will roll out Just Walk Out technology to all its Fresh stores and perhaps even Whole Foods? How long will it be before no-stop checkout technology is widely available in U.S. retail stores?