Whole Foods is into palm reading

Source: one.amazon.com
May 20, 2022

Whole Foods Market stores in Los Angeles are giving customers the option of paying for their groceries using their palms.

A location in Silver Lake and another in Irvine are becoming the first of the chain’s stores to make use of the Amazon One palm recognition technology that enables customers to pay with a scan of their palm.

The LA stores follow a Whole Foods on Manhattan’s West Side, which introduced the technology earlier this week. Whole Foods is planning to roll out Amazon One at its store in Playa Vista, CA, in the coming weeks. The technology is also currently being used at Whole Foods in Seattle and Austin, TX.

The store in Austin was the first Whole Foods outside of Seattle at which Amazon deployed the technology. Plans are in place for six more stores in the Austin region to deploy Amazon One, according to CNET. The market will become the second where every Amazon-owned store offers the payment technology to customers.

The idea behind the Amazon One technology is to provide customers with a convenient and secure way to purchase goods without having to use their credit cards at store checkouts.

Customers enroll by having one or both of their palms scanned and linked to a credit or debit card for payment. Amazon.com says the entire process of registering for Amazon One takes  less than a minute.

Amazon.com, Whole Foods’ parent company, is looking to scale its biometric payment technology through some of its Amazon Go and Amazon Fresh locations. It is also looking to expand the number of third-party locations that deploy the technology, as well.

Concerns have been raised in the past about the use of biometric technology and the ability of retailers to protect consumers’ personal information from being stolen. Amazon, in an email sent to members of the press, said its devices are protected by “multiple security controls” and that customer “palm images are never stored” on its devices. All palm images are encrypted and sent to a proprietary Amazon One area in the cloud where signatures are created.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see biometric payment technology such as Amazon One being widely accepted by retailers and customers alike? What do you see as the pros and cons of this technology compared to other payment methods?

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"It’s convenient and it’s secure but it may be considered intrusive by some consumers. It has to work all the time. It may be partially accepted. Let’s wait and see."

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8 Comments on "Whole Foods is into palm reading"

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Bob Amster

It’s convenient and it’s secure but it may be considered intrusive by some consumers. It has to work all the time. It may be partially accepted. Let’s wait and see.

Michael La Kier

If you can make shoppers’ lives easier – and speed up checkout – it’s worth exploring. Many problems exist however with alternative payment systems. Cost and time to implement new infrastructure and educate both employees and shoppers are significant barriers.

Neil Saunders

This might not be for everyone but it reduces friction, even more so than Apple Pay and similar concepts. Sure some will have concerns around security and personal information but others won’t care so much. It’s nice to have more choices and for some of those choices to be faster and more convenient.

Dr. Stephen Needel

As convenient as this may be, you have to wonder whether the cost of developing it would ever be recovered. I don’t see anyone going to Whole Foods because they don’t have to pull out their credit card. To me this is another example of technology for the sake of technology, not for solving a problem.

Lisa Goller

Now that we’re back in stores, long lineups are testing our patience. Fast, convenient and cashierless tech, including Amazon One, suddenly looks extra attractive.

We’re getting more comfortable with biometrics as this technology gets more pervasive. Our iPhones open by recognizing our faces. Our phones track our fitness achievements. Banks recognize our voices. Data privacy still matters yet a growing number of consumers seem to trust the tech.

Now sports arenas — and Whole Foods — let us pay with our palm to minimize the time we waste in line. Time savings will compel more shoppers to skip the line.

Rich Kizer

This has been discussed and discussed over the years, and people have seemed scared of biometric payment. However as technology advances, comfort and use rise.

Lucille DeHart

Biometrics are just a stones throw away from face recognition devices, thumb print scans and retinal keys. The IoT (Internet of Things) is happening. There has even been testing by corporations to embed passes under the skin so employees won’t lose their access keys. I don’t like this, personally, as I do believe mixing commerce with biology leads to data access liberties (like DNA evaluations could be used by insurance companies for premium rates). The pros and cons are fairly obvious. Pros: ease of individual access and seamless integration and user experiences. Cons: privacy, data breach concerns and general TMI (too much information).

Cathy Hotka

I have sat in multiple meetings with key figures at the FBI who were adamant about the massive numbers of Americans they wanted to subject to surveillance. It’s a hard NO for me.

"It’s convenient and it’s secure but it may be considered intrusive by some consumers. It has to work all the time. It may be partially accepted. Let’s wait and see."

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