Is palm payment past pilot at Whole Foods?
Amazon just implemented its biometric palm reader at a Whole Foods location in a new market, making it look more like Amazon sees palm reading in Whole Foods’ future nationwide.
The technology, called Amazon One, was recently deployed in Whole Foods in Austin, Texas, according to Fox Business. It allows customers to pay by waving their palm over a circular scanner, which associates unique characteristics of the user’s palm with their bank account.
Last year the technology drew the attention of privacy advocates as well as lawmakers. At the time, Senators Amy Klobuchar, Bill Cassidy and Jon Ossoff sent a letter to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy expressing concern about the biometric data Amazon is amassing on customers and how it might be used for advertising and tracking.
Such concerns have not stopped Amazon from continuing its rollout, though. The company originally piloted the technology in 2019 at its New York City Office, and the Amazon One website now shows 40 locations nationwide — including Whole Foods, Amazon Go and other stores — where a customer can utilize the technology to pay.
The expansion of the technology comes as low-touch and no-touch payment solutions continue to appear in retail. Amazon has played a major role in this trend, both in grocery and beyond. Earlier this month, Amazon announced that it will be bringing its Just Walk Out technology to two stores at the Houston Astros’ baseball stadium.
Vendors other than Amazon have also been betting on automating the checkout line out of the grocery shopping process. For instance, college food supplier Sodexo recently launched a fully-automated grocer on the campus of University of Denver, with an eye toward a broader expansion. Students becoming comfortable with the technology on campus could lead to a greater enthusiasm in the general market as they graduate.
Enthusiasm for automated shopping driven by biometric technology has, on the other hand, been mixed. Facial recognition at retail in particular has rubbed some the wrong way. Last year, a consortium of more than 35 civil rights organizations launched a campaign called Fight for the Future to oppose the use of the technology at retail.
- Austin Whole Foods unveils pay by palm service for grocery shoppers – Fox Business
- Amazon One – Amazon.com
- Amazon’s cashierless Just Walk Out technology comes to Houston Astros’ Major League Baseball stadium – TechCrunch
- Whole Foods wants a hand from shoppers at checkout – RetailWire
- Cashierless stores graduate to college campuses – RetailWire
- Can facial recognition outlast its bad press? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will palm-based identification become a necessary or significantly used part of Just Walk Out technology, or is it a bridge too far for most customers? Do you see the use of this technology being readily adopted by shoppers than when first piloted a few years ago?